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Shortage of girls – wife sharing

The day that I have been expecting has arrived. After writing about female infanticide and its negative effects such declining in the female population, I read in the news today that young brides has to share bed with her husband’s other brothers who has failed to find wife’s.

If the girl resists, she faces physical violence and some has been burned. These cases are rarely reported to the Police officials as women aren’t allowed to go outside.

Decades of aborting female babies have led to a shortage of women and the worst place to suffer is Baghpat in Uttar Pradesh in Northern India. Other problems are the rising incidents of rape and human trafficking. In rural Bhagpat, women have to veil themselves in the presence of men, forced to stay in the house and be a house wife and child bearer. This view of the female gender has lead to discrimination and made the women worthless.

According to India’s 2011 census, there are only 858 women to every 1,000 men in Baghpat district, compared to the national sex ratio of 940. A May study in the British Medical Journal Lancet wrote that 12 million Indian girls were aborted over the last 3 decades.

Child sex ratios in Baghpat are even more skewed and on the decline with 837 girls in 2011 compared to 850 in 2001 – a trend mirrored across districts in northern Indian states such as Haryana, Punjab and Rajasthan and Gujarat in the west.

‘In every village, there are at least five or six bachelors who can’t find a wife. In some, there are up to three or four unmarried men in one family. Haryana has suffered tremendously and many men struggles to find a bride.

Some families buy brides from other states and others who cannot afford it shares the one daughter in law they have. In traditional dominated regions, sons are seen as asset and breadwinners who will take care of the family and continue the name. Daughters on another hand are regarded as burden because of the dowry tradition and the fact that once they get married, they leave the home.

Personally, in my opinion this act is as wrong as it can get. A marriage is between the husband and wife. When the wife has to share the bed with her brother in laws, that shows that this tradition of female abortion has done its damage. The girls are forced to sleep with her husband’s brothers and this is considered as rape. A corrupt act like this is not allowed by the government but everybody keeps this as a secret in rural areas and since the girls isn’t allowed to go outside, they don’t have the chance to report this.

The only solution is to break these deep rooted ancient traditions and the only way this can happen is to educate the girls, provide them healthcare and other opportunities so that they know their rights and can be independent. Another thing that I have been thinking about lately is that usually when an item is rare, its value increases. No wife means no child.

https://hatefsvoice.wordpress.com/2011/08/14/harmful-practices-to-the-female-body-part-4-female-infanticide/

https://hatefsvoice.wordpress.com/2011/07/15/haryana-india-the-womens-curse/

 

Temporarely marriage

Prostitution, the oldest profession in the world is growing by the year. Prostitution is illegal in Iran and the penalties are severe from 100 lashes to execution. The numbers of prostitutes are increasing despite police crackdowns, especially in the capital city Teheran. The women are often young and include teenagers who have run away from home called  “dokhtarani khiyabani” meaning street girls .The runaway girls are usually fleeing home situations where their parents are abusive or are drug addicts or where they are subjected to sexual assaults. Some also are reported to be girls who have been married off at a young age by impoverished parents but face conflicts with older, exploitative husbands. But after they escape to towns and cities, they find they have no employment prospects and end up begging, engaging in petty crime, or working as prostitutes. So what increases prostitution in Iran? Some reasons are the widespread poverty, high rate of divorce, and the amount of runaway girls fleeing abusive homes becomes bate for those who lure them into prostitution.

A sign showing many of the offices people can get married.

This is a problem for the Iranian government and to deal with the problem, they have come up with a solution; temporarily marriage also called “Nikah al-Mut’ah.”

This marriage is a fixed term marriage anywhere from 1 hour to 99 years in exchange for a special amount of money which you also can renew again and again if wished. The only thing you need to do is to find an office of a marriage cleric who writes temporarily marriage certifications. The marriage is called “mut’ah” or “sighe” and is generally used by young men and women who want to avoid trouble with the moral police and the men who want to pick up one of the many prostitutes. As everyone knows, there are strict punishment for romance between unmarried men and women, and in case you are sitting in a coffee shop or hanging out in the park with the opposite sex and the moral police pays you a visit, then you can just wave your temporarily marriage certification and avoid 100 lashes.

Men can marry as many women they can afford but women can only be involved with one man and can’t enter another relationship before the 3 months of waiting period is over. Sometimes it’s not about the romance and a few amounts of people do use it for economical reasons or to just share an apartment together. Under temporary marriages, practiced largely by Shiites and banned by Sunni Muslims, there are no limits as to the number of temporary wives a man can take unlike in Sunni communities. Practiced mostly in Iran and used among everybody, even the most religious. In most of the cases the women who become sighe are divorced or widows. Virgin women need to have permission from their father or paternal grandfather to enter into such a marriage, and temporary marriages involving young unmarried women are quite uncommon except among the extremely needy. In case the girls want to enter a real marriage, the virginity can be restored easily for a few hundred dollars.

To relieve lust of youth

Iran’s interior minister, Moustafa Pourmohammadi urged the revival of the practice of temporary marriage permitted under Shiaism to give young people easier legitimate access to sex. The minister also described the practice as “God’s rule” and said it was an alternative to pre-marital sex.

“The increase in the marriage age in this country has caused many problems,” he told a conference in the city of Qom. We have to find a solution to meet the sexual desire of the youth who have no possibility of marriage. Islam is a comprehensive and complete religion and has a solution for every behaviour and need, and temporary marriage is one of its solutions for the needs of the youth,” he stated.

Feminists, clerics and officials have begun to discuss sigheh as a solution to the problems of Iran’s youth that stands for 65% of the 70 million population, combined with high unemployment, means that more couples are putting off marriage because they cannot afford it. This is not the first time that people in the Islamic Republic have tried to promote sigheh as the first person to discuss it openly was Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani when he was President. In a sermon in 1990, he called sexual desire a God-given trait. Don’t be “promiscuous like the Westerners,” he advocated, but use the God-given solution of temporary marriage.

A new plan by some senior Iranian clerics for solving the country’s problem of street prostitution has raised debates. The plan is to create so-called “chastity houses” for destitute women where men could marry them for a few hours. The critics have said that it will push more poor women and runaway girls into becoming prostitutes. The temporary marriage license would protect the couple from harassment by authorities and, according to some proposals; it would be accompanied by free contraceptives and health advice. Under religious law, a temporary marriage imposes no obligations on a man unless the union produces a child, who must be recognized as legitimate and can claim a share of any inheritance. There are already tens of thousands of children from temporary marriages whose fathers do not acknowledge them and therefore are considered illegitimate. These children face difficulties in getting the identification papers needed for school and work. Without these papers, they are shut off from family inheritance and from government assistance normally available to poor or orphaned kids. Besides this the shame follows them all their lives.

Maryam and Karim- A sad love story

Karim gave her clothes and a little money from time to time during their “marriage,” but not the gold coin he had promised her with each renewal of their contract. He told her she was beautiful, something her husband had never done to her. She cleaned his house occasionally and even met his brothers and he met her mother. “She knew that I was with a man,” Maryam said, “but would have preferred I was with him illegally than his sigheh.”

In the 5th year of their relationship, Karim began to call less frequently. Maryam went to a fortune-teller, who told her that Karim was to be married. When she confronted him, he said that it was over and after their contract ran out, he married a virgin chosen by his parents. Because of her divorce, she said, “he told me right from the start that he couldn’t marry me permanently but he treated me so nicely that I thought things would change.” Maryam was so much in love that she even offered to become Karim’s temporary wife again after he was permanently married but he refused.

Sources;

Picture from Nettavisen and google. Some statistic and information from IPS, pars times, BBC and some Iranian sources.

Nigerian healer married 107 women

I heard about polygamy some days ago and researched on the phenomenon, but while I was reading on this subject, I came across news that was way over the border of polygamy. I was laughing hard as I read about a man in Nigeria that has married 107 times. Today, when it is hard enough to deal with only 1 wife, I don’t understand how this man have the patience of having this much women in his home. If he goes to work outside the home and doesn’t come back before late evening then it is understandable.

Bello Maasaba, working as a healer in Nigeria has married 107 women throughout the years. The 87 year old man has 86 wives now aged between 19 and 64 years old and he stated that he will continue to get married.

He has already divorced 12 wives because of “disobedience” and is currently looking for “Ms Right”. Maasaba had a total of 185 children but only 133 are alive and the youngest one is only 1 month old. The city of Niger is run by the Sharia law and the city administration told Masaaba 3 years ago to divorce 82 of the wife’s so that the number of wives would be 4.

We all know about examples of men in their late 70s who are spending most of their time chasing women and girls. Hugh Hefner and the famous Silvio Berlusconi who said that he was “superman” when a person stated that he needed psychology help for the problem.

Child Marriages – Robbing them of their innocence

Throughout the world, the problem of early, forced marriages of children is considered to be a violation of basic human rights. Child marriage is defined by when a child who is below the legal age (usually below the age 15) is married to an adult. Usually it’s almost a Young girl married to an older man. The second form of marriage is an arranged marriage where the parents of the child(ren) and the other person arrange a future marriage. Here, the two individuals who are promised to each other, does not often meet until the wedding ceremony which happens when they both are considered to be of a marriageable age.

Occurrence

It has been estimated that 49 countries around the world has a significant child bride problem, but the numbers are estimated to be higher because of the unregistered and unofficial marriages. UNICEF survey results of 100 countries shows that in developing countries, over than 60 million women aged between 20 and 24 was married before the age of 18. In the countries of Bangladesh, Central African Republic, Chad, Guinea, Mali, and Niger, more than 60% were found to have been married before 18. Despite sanctions on child marriage, more than 100 million children were expected to marry between 2005-2015.

Article 16.1 of United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women of 1979 (CEDAW http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/cedaw.htm)states that;

a) Men and women have the same right to enter into marriage.

b) The same right to freely choose a spouse and enter that marriage with their free and full consent.

Article 16.2 states: The betrothal and marriage of a child shall have no legal effect, and all necessary action, including legislation, shall be taken to specify a minimum age for marriage. CEDAW has not been ratified by seven UN member-states; the United States, Sudan, Somalia, Iran, Nauru, Palau and Tonga.

Although this practice is banned by many countries, there are still many children who are victims of practice. It is combined with culture and has many purposes. Some cultures use child marriage among different tribes, villages and families to secure political and other ties between them to prevent themselves from being assimilated. Other families use child marriage to gain financial ties with wealthier people to ensure their success. Every women and girl has the right to a healthy and just life but when violence of any kind occurs, the international community has the supreme responsibility to respond and transform norms and behavior that condones these human right violations.

How does child marriage affect girl’s futures?

No matter where child marriage occurs, it is regarded as violation towards the children with tiny voices. Parents choose to marry off their daughters early for a number of reasons. Poor families may regard a young girl as an economic burden and her marriage as a necessary survival strategy for her family and some see no value in girls compared to a boy. Others are concerned of their daughters might lose their virginity or get pregnant before marriage. Changing these views requires education and the right to refuse marriage. The parents think that marrying away the daughters protects them from the risk and danger of sexual assault and the husband cares of her as a male guardian.

In the rural villages of these countries many young girls are rarely allowed out of their homes unless it is to work in the fields or to get married. These uneducated girls are often married off at the young age of 11. Some families allow girls who are only 7 years old to marry. It is very unusual for a girl to reach the age of 16 and not be married.

Child marriage by region

Click at the image for a larger picture.

Europe

In France, 11% of girls are married before the age of 18.

Africa

Because of poverty, culture, tradition and conflicts makes child marriages widespread all over Africa. In many tribal systems, the groom has to pay a bride price to the bride’s family in order to marry her. In many parts of Africa, this payment happens in cash, cattle or other valuables but the amount decreases as the girl gets older. That’s why, the family’s wishes to marry the girl as early as possible, most of the times before puberty. Over half of the girls are sent away for marriage as the parents needs the bride price to clothe, feed and educate the rest of the family while a boy can gain education, employment and get married later.

According to many UN related reports made in Sub-Saharan countries, the incident of child marriages under the age of 15 is very high. This has resulted in health problems such as obstetric fistulae, prematurely, stillbirth, sexually transmitted diseases (STD), cervical cancer and malaria. In parts of Ethiopia and Nigeria, 50% of the girls are married as young as the age of 7. In parts of Mali, 39% of the girls are married before the age of 15 and in Niger and Chad; over 70% of girls are married before the age of 18.

Asia and South Asia

India

The status of the woman has been lower than the men for centuries and she has been regarded as the disrespected element of the society in many places. Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh tops list of child marriages by accounting 40% of these incidents a year. A total of 104 cases of child marriage were reported across the country in 2008, which is an 8.3% increase over the previous year’s figure.

The child marriage restraint Act, 1929 was passed during the British rule in pre-partition India that forbade a male younger than 21 and a female younger than 18 to get married. As South-Asia has the highest rate of child marriages in the world, India stands for 40% of the world’s child marriages according to UNICEF’s ”State of the World’s Children -2009”. In an effort to handle this problem, the states of Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Himachal Pradesh, laws has been made and passed to register all marriages in order to make them valid. According to”National Plan of Action for Children 2005,” (published by the Department of Women and Child development of India) a goal was set out to eliminate child marriages by 2010. As for the child restrain act, a child is a person who, if a male, has not completed 21 years of age and if a female, has not completed 18 years of age. In case of such incident, the parent or guardian concerned may be punished with a simple imprisonment which may extend to three months and a fine. Those who solemnize and give consent to the wedding ceremony face the same punishment. A male above 18 years and below 21, entering into wedlock with a child, shall be punishable with simple imprisonment which may extend to 15 days or with fine which may extend to Rs1,000 or both. A male above 21 years marrying a child shall be punishable with simple imprisonment which may extend to three months and shall also be liable to fine.

Afghanistan

It is believed that between 60 and 80% of marriages are forced marriages and occurs mostly in the rural areas. This deprives the girls from education and isolates them further.

Pakistan

Even though the minimum age for marriage is 18 for men and 16 for girls, child marriages are still widespread and still practiced.

Bangladesh

According to the”State of the World’s Children-2009” report, 63% of all women aged 20-24 were married before the age of 18. The Ministry of Women and Children Affairs has been and still is making progress to increase women and girl’s education and employment opportunities. To reach out to those in rural areas, an attempt to speak with the religious leaders and cooperate with them has shown results and is hoped to decrease the practice.

Middel East

In April 2007, the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) published a new study on child marriage in the world, “New Insights on Preventing Child Marriage: A Global Analysis of Factors and Programs.” The study included the latest ranking of the countries with the world’s highest incidence of child marriage. The chart included 68 countries and the country first on the list was Niger where 76.6% of women were found to have married before age 18, followed by Chad, at 71.5%. The proportion of child brides was above 60% in Bangladesh, Mali and Guinea and above 50% in Nepal, Mozambique, Uganda, Burkina Faso and India. Afghanistan does not appear on the list only because reliable facts are not available from that country. However, the incidence of child marriage in Afghanistan is believed to be quite high.

Yemen

49% of girls are married by the age of 18.

Saudi Arabia

Several human rights groups have documented high number of child marriages in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Saudi clerics have justified marriage of girls as young as the age of 9 and there is no laws defining the minimum age of marriage. The Saudi Ministry of Health on their side issued an official statement expressing its rejection of the marriage of minors, warning of repercussions, including adverse health and psychological effects on young girls. The statement gave details of related reproductive problems, increased incidences of early osteoporosis, in addition to a higher probability of high blood pressure, possibly leading to kidney failure, emergence of distortions of pelvic bones, also accounting for mental illnesses caused by emotional deprivation suffered by young girls after being taken away from parents, such as hysteria, schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, personality disorders, and may even lead to addiction as a means of escape, as well as negative effects on children of minors, including delayed mental development.

United States

Laws regarding child marriage vary throughout the United States, though generally children 16 and over may marry with parental consent. Fewer than 16 generally require a court order in addition to the parental consent. The awareness of early forced marriage and sexual abuse of young girls in the United States was increased by the April 2008 rescue of numerous children living on a ranch owned by a polygamist sect in Texas. Children can also be married under the age of 18 with permission from their parents. In Texas, Alabama, South Carolina and Utah, girls can marry at the age of 14, in New Hampshire at 13, in Massachusetts and Kansas, as early as 12.

Until 2008, the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints practiced child marriage through the concept ‘spiritual (religious only) marriages,’ as soon as girls are ready to bear children, as part of its polygamy practice and laws have raised the age of legal marriage in response to criticism of the practice. In 2008, the Church changed its policy in the United States to no longer marry individuals younger than the local legal age as the Church leader Warren Jeffs was convicted of being an accomplice to statutory rape of a minor due to arranging a marriage between a 14-year-old girl and a 19-year-old man in 2007. The state of Texas removed all 468 children from the ranch and placed them into temporary state custody. FLDS denied the charges. The charges were eventually dropped in court as there was no solid evidence in support of this, and it was determined that the state entered the ranch illegally.

South America

It is estimated that 29% of women aged between 15-24 were married before the age of 18 in Latin America and the Caribbean with Guatemala and El Salvador with the highest rates at 41% and 38%.

According to a report issued by the United Nations, these early marriage unions violate the basic human rights of these girls by putting them into a life of isolation, service, lack of education, health problems, and abuse. The UNICEF paper also states: “UNICEF believes that, because marriage under the age of 18 may threaten a child’s human rights (including the right to education, leisure, good health, freedom of expression, and freedom from discrimination), the best way to ensure the protection of children’s rights is to set a minimum age limit of 18 for marriage.

Negative effects on child marriages

Poverty

Girls living in the poorest 20% of households are more likely to get married at an early age than those living in the wealthiest 20%.

Education

Women with primary education are significantly less likely to be married or in union as children than those who received no education. In Zimbabwe for example, 48% of women who had attended primary school had been married by the age of 18, compared to 87% of those who had not attended school. Furthermore, once entering a marriage or union, women are much less likely to receive further education or get divorce.

Health

Premature pregnancies are common with young brides, and these cause higher rates of maternal and infant mortality.

Since many married adolescents are pulled out of school at an early age, they may be unfamiliar with basic reproductive health issues. Despite the large number of married girls, policies and programs often fail to address their vulnerability to HIV, sexual transmitted diseases (STD) or other reproductive health needs. Furthermore, while parents may see early marriage as a way to help keep their daughters from becoming infected with HIV, data indicates that 17-22 percent of 15-19 year old girls in Sub-Saharan Africa are living with HIV/AIDS as opposed to 3-7% for their male counterparts.

Poor health, early death and lack of education lead the list of major problems related to child marriages. Child brides have a double pregnancy death rate rather than women in their 20s because of their young age. Besides from having children in young age, girls are also exposed for damages and rupture in their reproductive organs and their children will end up being sicker and weaker ending in an early death. These young girls are also at an increased risk of chronic anemia and obesity. Other problems are listed as:

  • Limited social support due to social isolation.
  • Limited educational opportunities or no schooling options.
  • Intense pressure to become pregnant.
  • An increased risk of maternal and infant mortality.
  • Restricted freedom of movement and social mobility.
  • Early marriage that creates a lifetime of poverty
  • Statistically, child brides have a higher risk of becoming victims of domestic violence, sexual abuse and murder.

Abuse

Abuse is common in child marriages. Women who get married in a young age are more likely to be beaten or threatened, and more likely to believe that a husband might sometimes be justified in beating his wife. Some women end up being murdered as well for different reasons. In addition, children who refuse to marry or who choose a marriage partner against the wishes of their parents are often punished or even killed by their families in so-called ‘honour’ killings.

The History of Saint Valentine’s Day

Today is February 14th, and Valentines and couples all over the world celebrate this day with their loved ones. The shops started one week before to sell valentine cards and accessories and all I could see for one week was the colour red. But this doesn’t mean that only couples can send each other nice messages or flowers. Friends that we hold dear can also be remembered on this day and how important the friendship is to us.

Saint Valentine’s Day, commonly shortened to Valentine’s Day, is an annual commemoration held on February 14 celebrating love and affection between intimate companions. It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. Modern Valentine’s Day symbols include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.

Valentine’s Day started in the Roman Empire in the ancient Rome to honour Juno, the queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses. The Romans also recognized her as the Goddess of women and marriage. The following day, February 15th, began the Feast of Lupercalia. The lives of young boys and girls were strictly separate however; one of the customs of the young people was name drawing. On the eve of the festival of Lupercalia the names of Roman girls were written on slips of paper and placed into jars. Each young man would draw a girl’s name from the jar and would then be partners for the duration of the festival with the girl whom he chose. Sometimes the pairing of the children lasted an entire year, and often, they would fall in love and would later marry.

The history of Valentine is shrouded in mystery, but we have all seen that it’s been a month of romance. St. Valentine’s Day contains both of Christian and Roman tradition. One legend tells that Saint Valentine was a priest who served during the time of Emperor Claudius II Rome was involved in many bloody and hated campaigns that gave him the name “Claudius the Cruel”, and this made it difficult for him to make soldiers join his military force. In his mind, he believed that the roman men did not want to leave their loved one and families and because of this, Claudius cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome. Seeing the frustration, he and Saint Marius aided the Christian martyrs and secretly married the couples. For this deed, Saint Valentine was dragged before the Prefect of Rome who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. He suffered his martyrdom on the 14th day of February around year 270.

Another story tells the tale that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons were they often would be beaten and tortured.

The third story was that Valentine sent the first valentine greeting himself. But it is believed that while in prison, Valentine fell in love with a young girl, who may have been the jailors daughter that visited him. Before his death, Valentine wrote her a letter which he signed “from your Valentine,” an expression that is still used today.

In ancient Rome, February was the official beginning of spring and was considered a time for purification. Houses were ritually cleansed by sweeping them out and then sprinkling salt and a type of wheat called spelt throughout their interiors. Lupercalia, which began at the ides of February, February 15, was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus. To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at the sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would then sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. The boys then sliced the goat’s hide into strips, dipped them in the sacrificial blood and took to the streets, gently slapping both women and fields of crops with the goat hide strips. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed being touched with the hides because it was believed the strips would make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would then each choose a name out of the urn and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage. Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day around 498 A.D. The Roman “lottery” system for romantic pairing was deemed un-Christian and outlawed.

Later, during the middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of February, Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. The greeting, which was written in 1415, is part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England. Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois.

In Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated around the seventeenth century. By the middle of the eighteenth century, it was common for friends and lovers in all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes. By the end of the century, printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine’s Day greetings. Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began to sell the first mass-produced valentines in America.

According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated of 1 billion valentine cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas. 85% of all valentine cards are also purchased by women around the world.

The first recorded association of Valentine’s Day with romantic love is in Parlement of Foules (1382) by Geoffrey Chaucer:

For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.
(“For this was Saint Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.”)

This poem was written to honour the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia. A treaty providing for a marriage was signed on May 2, 1381. (When they were married eight months later, they were each only 15 years old).

Valentine’s Day in modern times

Valentine’s Day has almost become a national holiday in the world known by everybody. Paper Valentines became so popular in England in the early 19th century that they were assembled in factories. Fancy Valentines were made with real lace and ribbons, with paper lace introduced in the mid-19th century. In the UK, just under half the population spend money on their Valentines and around 1.3 billion pounds is spent yearly on cards, flowers, chocolates and other gifts, with an estimated 25 million cards being sent. The reinvention of Saint Valentine’s Day in the 1840s has been traced by Leigh Eric Schmidt.

Shops selling cards and other romantic gifts can be seen several days before the festivity starts. Florists that have their best business of the year, prepare beautiful bouquets of exotic flowers. The most popular way to celebrate Valentine’s Day is to go to a romantic dinner and spend time with the loved one. Although many criticize it also and think that it is only a money industry luring people to spend money, there are those who don’t want to celebrate it because it is an ancient Roman tradition. No matter what it is, I think it is sweet that people express their love to one another and take the opportunity to spend time together to nourish the relationship.

Happy Valentine’s Day

 

 

 

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