Valentine and the Love …

Who was Saint Valentine, whose date of death is February 14, 269?

St. Valentine was the bishop of the city of Terni, north of Rome, where Christians and non-Christians highly respected him. He is considered as patron of lovers and bridal couples.

The Roman emperor at that time required him to convert to the Roman faith. He refused and was consequently taken into custody by an imperial advisor. Valentin healed this man’s blind daughter. In gratitude, the man’s family was baptized. Valentin was beheaded and the man’s family also died.

Another legend tells that Bishop Valentin helped a couple in love to escape and get married against the will of their parents. So he is also considered to be the founder of happy marriages with “obstacles”.

Since the year 350 Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14th. Since the historical sources about his person are too varied and too unclear, the day was removed from the church calendar of saints at the Second Vatican Council in 1965.

However, the folk traditions on this day have been preserved.

In the Middle Ages it was believed that birds begin pairing on 14 February. This is also a possible explanation for the association of the name Valentin with lovers.

Another theory is based on the Norman word galantine (a galan is a distinguished lover). With a V, “Galantin’s Day” became Valentine’s Day.

Another origin is assumed to be the Roman festival of “Lupercalia”. The names of young girls were written on pieces of paper and raffled among the boys. This way they could easily be accompanied for the next year, or at least for the feast day.

In France, Belgium and England, since the end of the 14th century, young couples have been chosen by lot as Valentine and Valentine for each other. Through an exchange of gifts, they were connected with each other until the next Valentine’s Day, similar to an engagement.

In England at the same time there was the belief that the first person of the opposite sex, which you see in the morning of February 14th, is the only and true love.

In the 17th century, the custom developed in the Anglo-Saxon world of sending home-made Valentine’s cards to one’s loved one. In the 18th century the first commercial greeting cards were produced.

“Through the flower”, wishes, requests and hopes could be articulated and, over time, a secret language developed. Not only the colours and varieties, but also every single detail of a bouquet was given its own meaning. These codes are still valid today. They were regionally different and complicated like a foreign language, so that soon separate dictionaries were written about the language of flowers. In the meantime, it has become part of the language and general knowledge that red roses say “I love you”.

Lady Mary Wortley Montagu wrote in the 18th century, in her “Letters from Istanbul”, about the meanings of individual flowers prevailing in the Orient. Charlotte de Latour wrote in 1829 in her book “Die Blumenpracht oder Symbolik des Pflanzenreiches”, about the hidden eroticism and language of flowers. A language that is still relevant regardless of WhatsApp and SMS.

“Ali and Nino”- because love knows no boundaries.

Hello, my dears,

tomorrow, February 14, is Valentine’s Day.

I spent almost 3 years in Azerbaijan, in its capital Baku and the city of Lankeran in the south. During this time I was able to enjoy the generous hospitality everywhere and got to know and appreciate the country and its people. It was a wonderful time, full of impressions and experiences that I do not want to miss.

Here is my reading and film advice for you, which fits well to Valentine’s Day: “Ali and Nino”.

The famous romance novel is set in Azerbaijan, the crossroads between East and West and in the capital Baku, the city where Orient and Occident converge.

It is about the love between the young aristocrat Ali Khan Shirvanshir, the first born of an important Muslim family, and the Georgian Christian princess Nino Kipiani, who also comes from a famous family. Ali falls in love with Nino from the very first moment. Although they belong to different religions, they overcome all difficulties and marry. The romance takes place against the background of the First World War and the Russian Revolution in Azerbaijan.

The film impresses with wonderful shots, with incredibly beautiful landscapes and a great, gorgeous romance.

The famous love story “Ali and Nino” was written by Kurban Said, a stage name which probably conceals two people: the publicist Baroness Elfriede von Ehrenfels, born von Bodmershof, and the Viennese coffee house writer Lev Nussimbaum, born in Baku in 1905. The novel’s intensity is probably due to Nussimbaum’s life story. He converted to Islam as a Jew and is said to have taken the name Essad Bey after his convert.

When the novel first appeared in Vienna in 1937, it quickly became a bestseller. Because of the forbidden topic ‘love across ethnic borders’, its success at that time was almost a scandal. The novel only reappeared in the seventies, as a translation into English.

The novel was translated into 33 languages. It was filmed in 2015 and premiered in early 2016.
The filming took place at different locations like Baku, Gobustan, Khynalyg, Ganja and Gadabey.
In Azerbaijan, the book “Ali and Nino” is equivalent to a national epic.

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