1 Feb 2005
Volume 3 By Katherine Kiang February 1, 2005
The Story of St. Valentine
In my second year at Seneca College (1994-1995), I had to give a speech in my Public Speaking course. It was supposed to be an informative speech – the topic was our choice. Since it was February, I decided to tell my class the story of Valentinus, also known as St. Valentine. It was not easy to find the true story about the saint who has become associated with the day for lovers – Valentine’s Day.
My class was very moved by the interesting topic I chose – more than my delivery of the speech, I’m sure. One of my classmates asked me where I found all the information. I quietly revealed, that it was mostly from those wonderful Hallmark and Carlton Card writers - they really are fabulous, aren’t they?!!!
So, what is the real scoop about Valentinus, a Christian martyr, whose death has made him a romantic figure in history?
According to the Catholic Church, there are three saints called Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend tells the story of Emperor Claudius II outlawing the marriage of young men because he believed that single men would make better soldiers than married men. Valentine secretly performed marriages for young lovers and he was killed for defying Roman law. Another story reveals that Valentine helped Christian prisoners escape the tortures and beatings in the harsh Roman prisons.
If you’re curious about the speech I gave, I told the version of Valentinus, a Christian priest, who fell in love with his jailor’s daughter when she visited him in prison. Before his death on February 14 (around A.D. 270), he wrote a final letter to her in which he signed, “From your Valentine” – as we may express today.
If you would like to learn more about the history of St. Valentine and Valentine’s Day, check out the following websites:
Man cannot live by chocolate alone - but woman can!
There is nothing better than a good friend - except a good friend with chocolate.
A balanced diet consists of items from the five major food groups: dairy, grains, meats, fruits/vegetables, and chocolate.
Chocolate: Here today ....Gone today!
Nothing chocolate... nothing gained.
Coffee.... Chocolate.... Men....
Some things are just better when they're rich!
Chocolate is cheaper than therapy and you don’t need an appointment.
I'd give up chocolate, but I'm no quitter.
Chocolate…how do I love thee
Well, yes, I said chocolate. Now, as if all the hearts on the borders of these pages of my newsletter is not enough of a hint, February 14th is Valentine’s Day!
I’d like to talk about my sweetie, MR. CHOCOLATE!!!
Thanks to my friend, Terry, I discovered what has become one of my favourite chocolate stores, The Ultimate Truffle (original location: 7713 Yonge St., Thornhill, Ontario, tel: 905 881 6959). They make homemade chocolates, not just for Valentine’s Day, but for many special occasions. I love their truffles (oh yah, they are THE ultimate!). Their chocolates are a work of art – apparently no two pieces are the same. And, they also have sugar free chocolates. I’ve now learned, from their website, http://www.fabuloussavings.com/theultimatetruffle/, that they now have a second location on Yonge Street (just north of Eglinton). I will have to check out their new location!
“Nobody knows the truffles I've seen!”
In the beginning….
Chocolate grows on trees
Theobroma cacao, meaning food for the gods, are evergreen trees growing 40-60 feet, in C. America, S. America, Africa, & part of Asia. Mayan Indians of Mexico used a form of chocolate as early as 600 A.D., and worshipped cocoa beans as an idol.
Mayans believed that cocoa beans had magical powers and were used in rituals, religious ceremonies, and healings by priests. Mayans used cocoa beans to treat fever, coughs and discomfort during pregnancy.
Would you like some Mayan or Aztec “hot chocolate”?
The Mayans were the first to invent a hot, mostly bitter cocoa drink. The Aztec Indians improved a drink called xocoati (pronounced “chocolatl”), meaning “warm liquid”….yes, hot chocolate! http://www.creativechocolates.com/choc_history.html
Aztec chocolate currency
Aztecs used chocolate, along with gold dust, as currency! So, that might explain the chocolate loonies.
Is chocolate really an aphrodisiac?
The great Aztec ruler, Montezuma, thought so, as it is said that he drank about 50 “hot chocolates” before running off to his harem. By the way, the Emperor introduced hot chocolate to Fernando Cortes, who brought Aztec chocolate drink making equipment back to Spain with him in 1528. You may have heard the scientific explanation that the phenyl ethylamine (PEA) in chocolate releases the same hormone as does sexual intercourse. Some may say otherwise, that the amount of PEA in chocolate is too small to produce significant effects, however, with doses of the feel good hormone serotonin and caffeine, along with a surge of PEA. Recent research also shows that women are more susceptible to effects of PEA and serotonin than men. So, is that why ladies might receive more chocolates than men on Valentine’s Day? (http://www.lifeofreiley.com/library/chocolate.htm)
More history of chocolate… http://www.cinetropic.com/chocolat/history.html
Chinese New Year: Year of the Rooster
February 9, 2005
If you were born in the year 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, or 1993, then you are a Rooster. However, keep in mind that the Chinese calendar is a lunar-based calendar, so the New Year is not on the same date on our calendar every year. If your birthday is in January or February, double-check to see whether you are actually a Rooster. To my Rooster friends, I hope you have a fabulous year!
Some characteristics of Roosters are as follows:
1. They are very observant. Most of the time, they are accurate and precise with their observations.
2. They have a keen “sixth sense”.
3. They are very forthright and straightforward – “what you see is what you get”.
4. They always appear attractive and beautifully turned out. Roosters are extremely conscious of their appearance and clothing.
They like to be noticed and flattered – likes to dress flashy in his/her mind, but is actually very conservative – but, obsessed with their appearance and can spend hours in front of the mirror. It doesn’t mean they will spend a lot on an outfit – they love to compare prices – even if it’s a few dollars or cents cheaper, they’ll be satisfied.
5. They are sociable and love to receive attention.
6. Their mind is cautious and skeptical, so they make excellent trouble shooters, detectives, doctors, nurses and psychiatrists.
7. They are always up, out and doing things – rarely do they sit quietly in the living room doing nothing.
8. They are sharp, practical and resourceful, and yet, they also like to dream.
9. Roosters make great hosts and love entertaining people.
10. Main virtue of Roosters is loyalty. They always keep their
promises. They make devoted friends!
Do I believe that all Roosters have all the above characteristics and qualities? Let me just say, consider nature vs. nurture.
For more information about Rooster, other Chinese zodiacal signs and Chinese New Year, here are some websites to start you off:
As of this date, I have not been able to find a website on “predictions” for the upcoming Year of the Rooster. There will likely be some once we hit the Chinese New Year. If you are interested specifically in this, please let me know, and I will e-mail the info. to you once I find some.
It’s All About February….
Did you know ….
- February was named after the Roman God, Februus, the god of purification. The Roman festival of purification was held on February 15th. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/February)
- Amethyst and Bloodstone are birthstones for February, but there are 11 stones listed as birthstones for February, as sun/star, planetary, or talismanic stones for the zodiac sign of Aquarius and Pieces. (http://www.bernardine.com/birthstone/february.htm)
- In regular years, there are 28 days in February. In leap years, there are 29 days. Three times in history, February 30 occurred!
- Groundhog Day (Feb. 2), a North American tradition, where the belief that the groundhog can predict whether or not there will be 6 more weeks of bad weather (longer winter) is based on the old European tradition of Candlemas. If it was a sunny Candlemas, it was believed that there would be 6 more weeks of winter. The Germans added the belief that if an animal (initially a hedgehog) was frightened by its shadow on Candlemas, it meant 6 more weeks of winter. This belief was brought to America in the 18th century by German settlers who adopted the groundhog as a weather predictor. I found some Groundhog Carols. They are hilarious! (http://ourworld.cs.com/DonaldRHalley/ghdsongs.htm)
K’s Favourite Websites for February
Mandarin Tools (Get a Chinese name – for fun!)
Scambusters (List of internet scams, urban legends, free newsletter)
Solve Dating (Dating resources, about singles, soul mates, etc.)
Symantec Security Response (Latest list of computer virus threats)
Wikipedia (Online free-content encyclopedia that you can edit)
Coming Up in March….
My Irish Roots
Are you Irish too?