16 February 2008

Cioccolato su San Valentino

SlittiFor the second time since 1996, I bought Fanne a pack of chocolate as a Valentine's Day gift. I seldom arrange anything on this day when I was in Taiwan but I did deliver flowers with a cuddle bear through online gift service every year when studying in Scotland. As it was the first St Valentine's Day after we became man and wife, I just wanted to prepare something different for this special occasion.

According to the Patron Saints Index from the Catholic Community Forum, the Valentines honoured on the 14th of February are Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni, the former being a priest, possibly a bishop, who suffered martyrdom in Rome about 269, and the latter a bishop who was murdered in secret on the way between Rome and Terni about 175. Some scholars believe that the two are the same person.

There are a couple of attested theories about the origin of Valentine's Day celebrations, tracing it to a Graeco-Roman festivals Lupercalia (a rite connected to fertility and prosperity) in mid February, to the belief that birds court one another on this day, or to the commemoration of the anniversary of Valentine's decease or entombment. The last suggests that Valentine was executed for secretly solemnising marriages for young couples in defiance of the decree issued by Roman Emperor Claudius II, who believed that single men made better soldiers than those with familial burdens.

Nevertheless, it doesn't matter to me in whichever way St Valentine may have become connected to romantic love. The festival just offers Chinese people a second opportunity apart from Qixi (七夕) to express care and adoration for their significant others.

I was so delighted to see Fanne's face beaming with happiness when she discovered a case of Italian Slitti Gran Cacao 73% on her dressing table.

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