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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 02/14/14

Friday, February 14, 2014

VALENTINE'S DAY!









Valentines Day is a day to express your love, and to celebrate the spirit of love. You will love this absolutely for valentine's day site, where you can celebrate the spirit of this day of lovers.





History of Cupid ~ The God Of Love !

   Cupid is the most famous of Valentine symbols and everybody knows that boy armed with bow and arrows, and piercing hearts . He is known as a mischievous, winged child armed with bow and arrows. The arrows signify desires and emotions of love, and Cupid aims those arrows at Gods and Humans, causing them to fall deeply in love.      Cupid has always played a role in the celebrations of love and lovers. In ancient Greece he was known as Eros, the young son of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. To the Roman's he was Cupid, and his mother was Venus.
     There is a very interesting story about Cupid and His mortal Bride Psyche in Roman mythology. Venus was jealous of the beauty of Psyche, and ordered Cupid to punish the mortal. But instead, Cupid fell deeply in love with her. He took her as his wife, but as a mortal she was forbidden to look at him.
   Psyche was happy until her sisters persuaded her to look at Cupid. as soon as Psyche looked at Cupid, Cupid punished her by leaving her. Their lovely castle and gardens vanished too. Psyche found herself alone in an open field with no signs of other beings or Cupid. As she wandered trying to find her love, she came upon the temple of Venus. Wishing to destroy her, the goddess of love gave Psyche a series of tasks, each harder and more dangerous then the last.
    For her last task Psyche was given a little box and told to take it to the underworld. She was told to get some of the beauty of Proserpine, the wife of Pluto, and put it in the box. During her trip she was given tips on avoiding the dangers of the realm of the dead. She was also warned not to open the box. But Temptation overcame Psyche and she opened the box. But instead of finding beauty, she found deadly slumber.
    Cupid found her lifeless on the ground. He gathered the deadly sleep from her body and put it back in the box. Cupid forgave her, as did Venus. The gods, moved by Psyche's love for Cupid made her a goddess.





History Of Valentine's Day

   February has long been a month of romance. It is the month associated with Valentine's Day celebrations. We have, time and again, heard the name St. Valentine being uttered before us in this season of love. But just who is this St. Valentine? Why is this month associated with love and romance? Learn about St. Valentine, how Valentines day came into practice as it is today. The origin of this lovers day goes back as early as 270 A.D and started with the clash between a kindly priest and a mighty ruler. To know more, just read on and discover the true meaning of this festival.
   Every year, the fourteenth day of the month of February has millions across the world presenting their loved ones with candy, flowers, chocolates and other lovely gifts. In many countries, restaurants and eateries are seen to be filled with couples who are eager to celebrate their relationship and the joy of their togetherness through delicious cuisines. There hardly seems to be a young man or woman who is not keen to make the most of the day.
The reason behind all of this is a kindly cleric named Valentine who died more than a thousand years ago.
    It is not exactly known why the 14th of February is known as Valentine's Day or if the noble Valentine really had any relation to this day.
   The history of Valentine's Day is impossible to be obtained from any archive and the veil of centuries gone by has made the origin behind this day more difficult to trace. It is only some legends that are our source for the history of Valentine's Day.
    The modern St. Valentine's Day celebrations are said to have been derived from both ancient Christian and Roman tradition. As per one legend, the holiday has originated from the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalis/Lupercalia, a fertility celebration that used to observed annually on February 15. But the rise of Christianity in Europe saw many pagan holidays being renamed for and dedicated to the early Christian martyrs. Lupercalia was no exception. In 496 AD, Pope Gelasius turned Lupercalia into a Christian feast day and set its observance a day earlier, on February 14. He proclaimed February 14 to be the feast day in honor of Saint Valentine, a Roman martyr who lived in the 3rd century. It is this St. Valentine whom the modern Valentine's Day honors.






       According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, there were at least three early Christian saints by the name of Valentine. While one was a priest in Rome, another was a bishop in Terni. Nothing is known about the third St. Valentine except that he met his end in Africa. Surprisingly, all three of them were said to have been martyred on 14th February.
    It is clear that Pope Gelasius intended to honor the first of these three aforementioned men. Most scholars believe that this St. Valentine was a priest who lived around 270 AD in Rome and attracted the disfavor of Roman emperor Claudius II who ruled during this time.
   The story of St. Valentine has two different versions - the Protestant and the Catholic one. Both versions agree upon Saint Valentine being a bishop who held secret marriage ceremonies of soldiers in opposition to Claudius II who had prohibited marriage for young men and was executed by the latter. During the lifetime of Valentine, the golden era of Roman empire had almost come to an end. Lack of quality administrators led to frequent civil strife. Education declined, taxation increased and trade witnessed a very bad time. The Roman empire faced crisis from all sides, from the Gauls, Slavs, Huns, Turks and Mongolians from Northern Europe and Asia. The empire had grown too large to be shielded from external aggression and internal chaos with existing forces. Naturally, more and more capable men were required to to be recruited as soldiers and officers to protect the nation from takeover. When Claudius became the emperor, he felt that married men were more emotionally attached to their families, and thus, will not make good soldiers. He believed that marriage made the men weak. So he issued an edict forbidding marriage to assure quality soldiers.






    The ban on marriage was a great shock for the Romans. But they dared not voice their protest against the mighty emperor.
   The kindly bishop Valentine also realized the injustice of the decree. He saw the trauma of young lovers who gave up all hopes of being united in marriage. He planned to counter the monarch's orders in secrecy. Whenever lovers thought of marrying, they went to Valentine who met them afterwards in a secret place, and joined them in the sacrament of matrimony. And thus he secretly performed many marriages for young lovers. But such things cannot remain hidden for long. It was only a matter of time before Claudius came to know of this "friend of lovers," and had him arrested.
    While awaiting his sentence in prison, Valentine was approached by his jailor, Asterius. It was said that Valentine had some saintly abilities and one of them granted him the power to heal people. Asterius had a blind daughter and knowing of the miraculous powers of Valentine he requested the latter to restore the sight of his blind daughter. The Catholic legend has it that Valentine did this through the vehicle of his strong faith, a phenomenon refuted by the Protestant version which agrees otherwise with the Catholic one. Whatever the fact, it appears that Valentine in some way did succeed to help Asterius' blind daughter.
   When Claudius II met Valentine, he was said to have been impressed by the dignity and conviction of the latter. However, Valentine refused to agree with the emperor regarding the ban on marriage. It is also said that the emperor tried to convert Valentine to the Roman gods but was unsuccesful in his efforts. Valentine refused to recognize Roman Gods and even attempted to convert the emperor, knowing the consequences fully. This angered Claudius II who gave the order of execution of Valentine.





    Meanwhile, a deep friendship had been formed between Valentine and Asterius' daughter. It caused great grief to the young girl to hear of his friend's imminent death. It is said that just before his execution, Valentine asked for a pen and paper from his jailor, and signed a farewell message to her "From Your Valentine," a phrase that lived ever after. As per another legend, Valentine fell in love with the daughter of his jailer during his imprisonment. However, this legend is not given much importance by historians. The most plausible story surrounding St. Valentine is one not centered on Eros (passionate love) but on agape (Christian love): he was martyred for refusing to renounce his religion. Valentine is believed to have been executed on February 14, 270 AD.
    Thus 14th February became a day for all lovers and Valentine became its Patron Saint. It began to be annually observed by young Romans who offered handwritten greetings of affection, known as Valentines, on this day to the women they admired. With the coming of Christianity, the day came to be known as St. Valentine's Day.
    But it was only during the 14th century that St. Valentine's Day became definitively associated with love. UCLA medieval scholar Henry Ansgar Kelly, author of "Chaucer and the Cult of Saint Valentine", credits Chaucer as the one who first linked St. Valentine's Day with romance. In medieval France and England it was believed that birds mated on February 14. Hence, Chaucer used the image of birds as the symbol of lovers in poems dedicated to the day. In Chaucer's "The Parliament of Fowls," the royal engagement, the mating season of birds, and St. Valentine's Day are related:
    "For this was on St. Valentine's Day, When every fowl cometh there to choose his mate."


COLOGNE CARNIVAL FROM GERMANY!!!!






   Carnival in Cologne is almost as old as the history of the city itself. But the organized carnival celebrated today only dates back 178 years.
    The Greeks and Romans celebrated cheerful spring festivals in honor of Dionysos and Saturn with wine, women and song. The ancient Germans celebrated the winter solstice as a homage to the Gods and expulsion of the evil winter demons. Later the Christians adopted the heathen customs. The period of fasting (Lent) prior to Easter was heralded in by "Fastnacht" or "Karnival"...carne vale = Farewell to meat!










    In the Middle Ages, the celebration of Carnival, the masquerade, often took on drastic forms, very much to the displeasure of the city council and the church. Bans and ordinances did little to help, the celebration was wild and spirited.
    The boisterous street carnival was extended in the 18th century to include the so called "Redouten", elegant masked and fancy dress balls in Venetian style, which were initially the preserve of the aristocracy and the wealthy patricians. In 1736, the first Redoute was held in Cologne in a noble house on the Neumarkt.











    Almost 50 years later, Cologne was captured by the French revolutionary troops. But the new rulers allowed the locals "de fair son tour", to hold their carnival parades. The Prussians, who took control a short time later, were stricter, which, however, did not prevent the natives of Cologne from cultivating their Carnival tradition. Carnival was romanticized and became bourgeois. It became organized! With the "Carnival Hero", with today's Prince Carnival, a new idea was also introduced.
    In 1823 the "Festordnende Komitee" was founded. On February 10th of that year, Cologne celebrated the first Rose Monday Parade with the moto "Inthronization of the Carnival Hero". Also involved were the "Rote Funken" the former city militia, who had just established themselves as a carnival society, the carnival fool of the "Hillige Knaachte un Magde", Jan von Werth and Cologne's "Peasant" and "Virgin" as a reminder of the former free imperial city of Cologne. At that time, like today, a man wore the costume of the Virgin. In 1860, the first "Ghost Parade" was held on the evening of Carnival Saturday. Even after the turn of the century, the "founding period" of the Carnival fans continued. In 1902, the "Ehrengarde" was formed as the accompanying group of the Peasant and Virgin. In 1906, Prince Carnival was given his "Prinzengarde". Other societies established themselves. Willi Ostermann, with his songs and musings, Grete Fluss extended the fame of Cologne's Carnival beyond the city's boundaries.


DARK CHOCOLATE CHERRY MOUSSE CAKE!!

   This recipe was found at www.passionateaboutbaking.com .  I dessert that could be the centerpiece for your next party or gathering.



Dark Chocolate Cherry Mousse Cake



Dark Chocolate Cherry Mousse Cake


The base was intended to be a sponge until I added melted chocolate to it. I panicked since it wasn’t light as air and soft … so it got a good sugar syrup soaking. Was the right medicine for the cake. It giddily drank up the juices on offer and was just right a base for the balsamic cherries and mousse filling!





Dark Chocolate Cherry Mousse Cake



The mousse filling was adapted from a simple chocolate mousse recipe in my Thermomix cookbook. By the time I had the machine on, I was in panic mode again. Something told me that it was too hot for it to set as a cake topping. Goblets are different; chocolate mousse will always be delicious in any form, barely set in goblets





Dark Chocolate Cherry Mousse Cake



too.I had to do better and couldn’t take a cake chance and eventually added a spoon of gelatin. It worked a charm and I was thrilled to see it had set beautifully when I demolded it the next morning. The birthday boy was packed off with Mr PAB for a film and lunch, so I got adventurous and decided to pretty up the cake a bit!




Dark Chocolate Cherry Mousse Cake






Noel Cowards began playing in head “Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun“. Boy was it HOT at 43C! A lace collar in the heat might well have been the silliest of ideas but there you are. That’s what I decided to do … and that worked too. Some more balsamic and fresh cherries on top, a sprinkling of pistachios, chocolate flakes and we were set for the lads 13th!!



Dark Chocolate Mousse.


Dark Chocolate Cherry Mousse Cake
Dark Chocolate Cherry Mousse Cake
Dark Chocolate Cherry Mousse Cake




We had a sinfully delicious cake by the evening, one that looked as good as it tasted. 5 star quality declared the hub! The kids absolutely LOVED it down to the last chocolaty crumb, the birthday boy quite happy. I was glad I set 2 goblets of mousse too to make sure that the mousse would hold; a runny mousse cake would have been a mid summer disaster! So glad I got it right!