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Islamabad

February 14, 2015

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine's Day to our readers who are celebrating this festival today which is all about love for family; friends and anyone else you want to shower your affections on -- no strings attached! Flowers and gifts will be exchanged; poetry written and other ways of expression will convey the message anyone wants to give and there will be an air of happiness and well being throughout the day.
There has been a big debate about whether or not to celebrate today – there are those who are dead set against anything to do with the day and its significance, branding it ‘western culture’ and ‘anti-Muslim.’ Valentine's Day has nothing to do with religion. There are a number of legends behind the celebration. One legend contends that when Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. A man named Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When he was discovered in the act, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
Others believe that the festival has its roots in the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman holy men, would gather at a sacred cave where the infant boys were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would sacrifice a goat, then strip the hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood and take to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with the goat hide. Far from being upset, Roman women welcomed the touch of the hides because it was believed to make them more fertile in the coming year. According to legend later in the day, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city's bachelors would each choose a name and become paired with its owner and ended in marriage. Lupercalia survived the initial rise of Christianity but was outlawed

as it was deemed ‘un-Christian!’ It was not until much later, however, that the day became definitively associated with love.
So these legends definitely make it a non religious festival! But whether to celebrate or not is up to individual choice as long as no harm accrues from it - the main purpose is to be happy and spread love instead of anger and hatred. We can all benefit from affection, especially those who have been recently bereaved or are lonely.

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