Valentine's special: For whom the bell tolls

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Valentines special: For whom the bell tolls

Dubai - Valentine's Day makes us focus on celebrating the virtues of love

By Sadiq Shaban

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Published: Sat 30 Jan 2016, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Sun 31 Jan 2016, 7:38 AM

Valentine's Day is the second-most celebrated event of the year after Christmas. Despite its popularity, especially in the last few decades, the origins of the day are not very clear. Some believe that the day derives its relevance from Lupercalia, an ancient Roman festival (that used to be held on February 15) in which both men and women of all ages participated. However, a lot of people junk this theory.
Several cultural critics say that the day's significance can be traced to St. Valentine of Rome, a third-century saint. Legend has it that in order to strengthen his army the Roman Emperor Claudius II prohibited young men to marry. St Valentine defied the ban and officiated many secret marriages. The day of his death (February 14) is celebrated in his honour. Valentine's Day was seen as a celebration in the UK around the 17th century and the idea of exchanging gifts and cards became commonplace by the early 19th century.
While the history of the day is mired in confusion, the symbolism of the day is not lost to many. We have all grown up with the image of cupid flexing his bow (again a classical mythological figure that portrays love, attraction and affection). Valentine's Day is part of popular culture now. It is a universal idea that allows lovers to express their love for each other by hanging out together, presenting flowers, confectionery, and sending greeting cards among other things.
In the UAE the Valentine's Day - like every other major celebration - has its own joy. From toasting bubbly together to a magical evening by the beachside - the choice is manifold. Lovers can savour an intimate breakfast in one of Dubai's fine-dining restaurants or step into one of the various tranquil spas to indulge in a session of personalised treatment. The UAE also offers various romantic, private lounging options, some of them in idyllic locations.
Gifting during Valentine's Day is big fad. Dubai takes lead in stocking pricey flowers, chocolates and gifts to be exchanged during the day. From buying a perfect accessory to match your wardrobe to a special gift for your significant other - there is plenty on offer. This season, smart watches with a wrap-around strap are much in demand. It is an ideal gift that will leave every man or woman feeling special.
While usually couples celebrate Valentine's Day, it has blurred the boundaries of kinship and love. People around the world use this occasion to show their parents, siblings, children, relatives, and even pets, how much they care and adore them. Commercialisation apart, Valentine's Day has ceased to be about romantic attraction alone. It has come to celebrate the virtues of love.

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