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The month of February, the world over, is reserved for romance. Especially February the 14th, which is celebrated as Valentine’s Day. Chocolates, flowers, greeting cards and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. As in any other festival, this day of love, passion and romance is also highly related with the various “love foods” which makes it even more special for the special ones, and make sure that you plan the entire meal, the best way you can!

It is rightly said that food is the universal language of love and the best way to express your feelings. Roses may wither, gifts go to the back of the cupboard (and mind!) but a specially cooked meal for your loved one goes deep into the recesses of the memory bank and earns interest at an unprecedented percentage! It is easy to book a table for two at a restaurant and expect them to pamper you but the fact that you have taken the pains to rustle up an appropriate meal (that too with some favourites of your beloved thrown in) goes a long way in giving you a sense of achievement and showing him or her that you care. 

To enjoy a perfect romantic dinner, make sure that you plan everything well in advance, so that you just have the nick-knacks left for the last minute and you enjoy the meal with your significant other.

Some things to keep in mind while laying out the spread:

  • When you sit down for the meal, it is best to choose a table that is small, so that your knees touch when you are seated. Romantic, all the way!
  • To evoke those pleasurable thoughts, make the ambience soothing with aromas – for which candles and flowers are a must always!
  • Music also plays a very important part, so choose a soothing, light background music. Dimmed lights are best for a romantic set-up.
  • Include foods of love like chocolate, caviar, honey (the liquid gold), strawberries, bananas, figs, oysters, almonds, vanilla, truffles, etc. for that extra feel and champagne and wine in the drinks would do you great. While using champagne, keep in mind to chill it the best and make sure that it pops!

Valentine’s day – the day of love

What’s so special about this day that people go out of their way to splurge on these things which are embodiment of romance? To understand this we should first find out all about St. Valentine to whom this day of romance is dedicated.

Who was St. Valentine
St Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains traces of both Christian and ancient Roman traditions. One legend has it that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. Emperor Claudius II believed that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families which was why he banned marriage of young men. Valentine, who found this ruling very unreasonable, defied Claudius and secretly performed marriages of young lovers. When his actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be imprisoned and then put to death. Valentine was beheaded on February 14th. After his death, Valentine was named a saint. And since then this day has been earmarked for lovers.

This legend also says that it was Valentine himself who sent the first ‘valentine’ greeting. It is believed that Valentine, while in the prison, fell in love with his jailor’s daughter, who used to visit him regularly. Before his death he was supposed to have written her a letter which he signed ‘From your Valentine,’ an expression that is very much in use even today.

Ways to express love
In Wales wooden love spoons were carved and given as gifts on February 14th. Hearts, keys and keyholes were favorite decorations on the spoons. The decoration meant, "You unlock my heart!"

In the Middle Ages, young men and women picked names written on chits kept in a bowl to see who their valentines would be. They would then wear these names on their sleeves for one week thus making their acceptance clear.

Sometimes a young woman would be gifted clothing from a young man. If she kept the gift, it meant she was willing to marry him.

Today people give gifts of greeting cards engraved with words of eternal love and friendship or heart shaped chocolates or cakes soft cuddly stuffed toys…the list is endless. Those who can afford it say it with jewelry.

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