Embassy News
 Arts & Living
 Travel & Hotel
 Medical Tourism New
 Letters to Editor
 Photo Gallery
 News Media Link
 TV Schedule Link
 News English
 Hospitals & Clinics
 Flea Market
 Moving & Packaging
 Religious Service
 Korean Classes
 Korean Weather
 Real Estate
 Home Stay
 Room Mate
 English Teaching
 Job Offered/Wanted
 Hotel Lounge
 Foreign Exchanges
 Korean Stock
 Business Center
 PR & Ads
 Arts & Performances
 Restaurants & Bars
 Tour & Travel
 Shopping Guide
 Foreign Missions
 Community Groups
 Foreign Workers
 Useful Services
 ST Banner Exchange
Happy "Valentine's Day"
By Alan Timblick
President of The Seoul Times
Saint Valentine is a widely recognized third-century Roman saint commemorated on February 14 and associated since the High Middle Ages with a tradition of courtly love.

Around the world February 14 is celebrated as "Valentine's Day." But the manner of celebration varies from country to country and says a lot about the way in which men think about women and vice-versa.

in Korea and in Japan, from where this practice was imported, the custom is for ladies to give chocolate to men, with whom they are not necessarily romantically involved. It was a clever and runaway marketing success begun in the 1960's by the Morinaga Confectionery Company. Cashing in on the craze, the company followed up by inventing "White Day" an event totally unknown in the West, when the men are supposed to reciprocate in similar fashion with chocolates for the ladies.

Something of the thrill and romantic excitement experienced in America and the UK got lost in translation, it seems, since the custom of giving sweets, flowers, poems and cards practiced in Victorian England through to today was more to do with anonymous declarations of secret devotion normally by male admirers to the probably unaware lady who was the object of such attention.

But who actually was St. Valentine? The facts are obscure but it seems he was probably a third century Roman priest who was executed in 269 CE for trying to convert the Emperor Claudius to Christianity. Legends have it that he helped Christian couples to marry, which is how his name became associated with romance.

And it is surely no coincidence that the cult of Valentine, on February 14, supposedly the date of his death, caught on quickly since it coincided with the pagan feast of Lupercalia (the horned goat-like god Pan) when young men were wont to run around naked beating up young women - and probably worse - to celebrate a fertility cult.

But the Victorians, great civilizers as they saw themselves, tamed all this barbarism by associating Valentine with the concept of "courtly love" popularized by tales of the court of King Arthur. The key motifs of this concept were gentlemen's gallantry and chivalry towards women, the elevation of the female to the top of a pedestal as an object of adoration, probably unattainable. SirLancelot, Queen Guinevere, even Sir Walter Raleigh,are famed practitioners of the Art of Courtly love, which survives today in western etiquette. Thus "ladies first", men holding doors open for women, helping them to be seated at the table have become an intrinsic part of good manners.

So, with this explanation, The Seoul Times, and in particular its President, would like to wish lovers everywhere, especially ladies who are loved, and of course my own dear wife,

A Happy Valentines Day!

Alan Timblick OBE
President, The Seoul Times
Korea's only on-line English language Daily

Related Articles
    Joseph J. Day MBE Dies of Cancer in Seoul
    "S. Korea Not Backward But President Is!"
    bRexit: a Denial of History
    An Open Letter to Mayor Park Won-Soon!
    Seoul Mayor Park Won-Soon Meets Foreigners
    Town Meetings for Foreign Residents of Seoul
    Protection of Diplomats
    "Valentine's Day"
    The Solution to Learning English
    Hangeul: A Reassessment
    King Sejong and Hangeul
    War Becomes Real in Clint Eastwood's True ...
    An Ode to the People of Korea
    "The Unbroken"
    Strong Won or Weak Dollar?
    Baloons, Drones, Satire, and Free Speech
    "International Market (Ode to My Father)," ...
    Terror as Tool of Censorship
    A Very Happy New Year 2015!
    None of My Business
    The Annals of the Chosun Dynasty
    The Catholic Martyrs of Korea
    Meaningless Slogans
    Bridges over the Han River: A Tale of Two ...
    Democracy in Action in Seoul
    An Open Letter to Administrator of Cultural ...
    Jeongneung Royal Tomb
    Seo Jai Pil, Founder of “The Independent”
    WTO Head Proud of Bali Agreement
    Korean "Oxbridge" Forum Inaugurated in Seoul
    The Waters of Seoul -- Han River
    "How We Will Remember You"
    Kim Gu, Independence Fighter
    Korean Local Government Has Matured, ...
    Seoul Subway Forces Senior Expats to Subsidize ...
    Syngman Rhee, 1st President of Republic of ...
    Ernest Bethell -- Champion of a Free Press
    Homer Hulbert – A Foreign Korean Patriot
    Korea's Own "Mini Winter Olympics"
    Cheongwadae -- A Blue-Hued Power House
    Bangkok Shutdown? Hardly!
    US Vice President Biden Speaks in Seoul
    The Annals of Kings and Presidents
    Cultural Values in Korea
    Of Dukes and Hazard
    State Visit -- Tripping the Light Fantastic
    Seoul Mayor Park Won-Soon Awards Honorary ...

Alan Timblick serves as President of The Seoul Times. He grew up in England, graduated from Oxford University, and has lived in Seoul for over three decades. A former banker, he also worked for the Korean gpvernment as head of Invest Korea and for Seoul City as head of the Seoul Global Center.






The Seoul Times Shinheungro 25-gil 2-6 Yongsan-gu, Seoul, Korea 04337 (ZC)
Office: 02-555-6188
Copyrights 2000 The Seoul Times Company  ST Banner Exchange