For many people Valentine is their favorite holiday, and they spend lots of money, time and creativity trying to surprise their loved ones. Although this holiday is celebrated for only one day, in the olden days this holiday was celebrated for the whole month of February. While nobody knows the exact origin of St. Valentine’s Day, we know it can be traced back to Roman tradition and Christianity. In February Romans celebrated Lupercalia, a fertility festival, dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, and Roman founders Romulus and Remus nursed by a she-wolf. To “de-paganize” this festival Christian church named this holiday after one of its saints St. Valentine. While no-one knows for sure which St. Valentine it was named after, one of the legends claims that during the third century Roman Emperor Claudius II was especially brutal and banned marriage to bolster his army and make it appear fearsome.
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Valentine, disagreeing with Emperor’s order continued to marry young people and was put to death. By the end of the fifth century February 14th became an official holiday and was renamed St. Valentine’s Day; however, it wasn’t associated with love and romance until much later. It’s not surprising that rose became an official flower of St. Valentine’s Day since it was always associated with love, passion and beauty. In Greek legend rose appeared from the tears of Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and the blood of her lover Adonis. In Roman legend Cupid(the god of desire, passion and erotic love, and the son of Venus, the Goddess of Love) tried to bribe the God of Silence with the rose. Rose is a very special flower for many cultures as it symbolises love, passion, romance, devotion, spirituality and much-much more. Rose is used in religious and spiritual practice to open up a heart and bring love into it. This wonderful flower can help with many health issues. Rose can be used for depression and stress. A bath with a sweet aroma of rose petals can relax the mind and the body. Rose can be very helpful in weight loss. Drinking a cup of tea with rose help satiate the senses and prevent overeating. It can be used for headaches, inflamed eyes, and even hemorrhoids. And of course rose is a very well known aphrodisiac(named after Aphrodite, the substance that increases sexual desire). Aside from helping a person enhance lovemaking, aphrodisiacs help strengthen sexual organs and increase fertility. According to Ayurveda, aphrodisiacs play a very important role in people’s health. Starting in reproductive organs, they revitalize the nerves and bone marrow, increase energy and stamina, and promote longevity. Combined with Shatavari, rose makes an incredible tonic. Mixed with safflower or hibiscus, it can regulate menstruation. Additionally, rose is an incredible beautifier of the face and the body. As a natural astringent, rose helps tighten the pores and restore glowy complexion. Natural oils found in rose helps the skin stay moisturised. Rose has high amount of vitamin C and thus helps protect the skin cells from damage. The two most often used types of rose are Rosa damascena and Rosa centifolia. Use them in teas, masks, hydrosols, sprays and enjoy your month of love, beauty and longevity. Happy February!
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