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February 10, 2016 / Ab Cdef

Treat your lover to a Valentine’s Day magnetic bracelet

Tarim white crystals

Tarim white crystals

Our winter giveaway is now closed. It was a great success, with 83 entries and the winner has been notified.

So what’s up next? St. Valentine’s Day – the day when those who are young in spirit profess their love for… well, those whom they love. In the old days, it used to be handwritten cards filled with poetic verses – a true expression of thoughtfulness as well as love. But not everyone is a poet and the cost of printing was going down, so printed cards became all the rage. But printed cards alone seemed rather cheap – especially as they sparred the lover the need to find the magic words to woo his beloved. So chocolates and flowers became the order of the day. And wealthier lovers were in many cases both able and willing to go the extra mile and impress the lady of their fancies with gold and diamonds.

But from where the tradition of giving St. Valentine cards and gifts originate? If you stop the average Englishman or woman in the street and ask them who is the patron saint of lovers, nine out of ten will tell you that it’s the eponymous St. Valentine. But which St. Valentine. There are at least fourteen different saints bearing that name.  And three of them are associated with February the 14th.Valentines. But none of them had anything to do with romance in their lives – despite stories that one of them used to perform secret marriage ceremonies for pagan Roman soldiers who were allegedly forbidden to marry. In fact, most of these Saint Valentinius’s (Valentinia?) were Christian martyrs.  So what, then, is the connection between one or more early Christian martyrs and romance?

MPS Bio Energy

MPS Bio Energy

Well here, I can only offer a speculative answer. Firstly, it is important to bear in mind that in Christian tradition, marriage is a sacrament which symbolises God’s (and Jesus’) love for humankind. This is in contrast to, say, Judaism, in which marriage is a contract. That might explain why Christian martyrdom came to be equated, in the eyes of some, with romantic love. Nuns, let us not forget, are said to be “brides of Christ.”

Okay, so much for the mental association. But how did it translate into the actual practice of giving cards and gifts? The answer to that question can be laid at the door of one Geoffrey Chaucer, a writer who, in addition to being  the father of modern English literature was also a man of the utmost piety. In honour of first anniversary of England’s King Richard II to Anne of Bohemia in a treaty signed on the second of May 1381, he wrote a poem called the Parliament of Foules (they didn’t have spell-checkers in the middle ages). The poem contained the following words (translated into modern English): “For this was on St. Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.”

There is some argument as to whether he meant February the 14th, the official St. Valentine’s Day, as designated by the Vatican, or the Feast of St. Valentine of Genoa, which is celebrated on May the 3rd. But regardless of what he intended, it was February 14 that became the de facto lovers’ day. By the eighteenth century young men were sending handwritten cards to the objects of their desire and by the nineteenth this gave way to printed cards – along with confectionery. Jewellery too was given by the affluent of suitors to their paramours.

But what of the less affluent? Magnetic Products Store offers an affordable alternative: magnetic and copper jewellery. And so in honour of St. Valentine’s Day, they are doing a special promotion, offering beautiful magnetic bracelets like the one pictured here.

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