Sealed with a kiss… But why?


Did your mother teach you to add an “x’’ and “o’’ — a kiss and a hug — after your signature? So deeply embedded in the English-language tradition that it probably never crossed her mind these symbols are affiliated with religion.

From where do these emoticons that English speakers of all faiths sprinkle so liberally come? Let’s start with the “x’’ — a simple, easily drawn shape that got its start in Western civilization as the ancient Phoenician letter “samekh” for the consonant sound “s’’. In early Hebrew, “x’’ was the letter “taw” and makes an appearance in the Book of Ezekiel as a mark set “upon the foreheads” to distinguish the good men of Jerusalem from the bad.

With the advent of Christianity, “x’’ came to stand for Christ. “In Christian texts, one abbreviation of the Greek christos — meaning messiah — used the first two Greek letters of christos, chi (X) and rho (P), combined into one shape,” says Stephen Goranson, a historian of religion at Duke University who studies the etymology of symbols and words. “So both orientations of crossed lines — the ‘x’ shape and the more-or-less lower case ‘t’ shape — took on religious significance among Christians.”

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Once it was a sacred symbol, the “x’’ represented “faith and fidelity,” says Marcel Danesi, a professor of linguistic anthropology and semiotics at the University of Toronto. It became the signature of choice in the Middle Ages, when few could write and documents were sealed with an “x’’ embossed in wax or lead. This may be when the “x’’ first became associated with the kiss: It was customary to close books with a kiss, and oaths of fealty to kings were sealed with a kiss.

“Symbols have a way of jumping from one domain to another, and it’s a small step to come from sealing a letter to sealing a love affair,” says Danesi, who wrote “The History of the Kiss: The Birth of Popular Culture.”

He speculates that “x’’ underwent a conversion in an act of medieval romantic rebellion. “Romantic love becomes an obsession, and the kiss became empowering.” This may have been particularly true for women who had less say than men over the choice of lovers. “The kiss became ‘If I kiss that man, then this is the man I love and want,’” says Danesi. “So much was packed into that symbol of a kiss. … It has become a kind of collective memory. We use ‘x’, even if we don’t know why.”

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There’s another theory about how “x’’ crossed over into kissing territory. According to Goranson, “x’’ was a symbol for a blessing, and blessings and kisses have long been intertwined in the human psyche. “Mystics went back and forth on the love of God and love of a beloved spouse going way back,” he says. “Just look at The Song of Songs. The same song could be one person’s devotional hymn and another’s love poem.”

“A Woman of Valor,” the Hebrew poem recited by Jewish husbands to their wives before the Sabbath evening meal, is also understood to be an expression of love of God.

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When the circle — “o’’ — came to signify a hug is another unknown.

Most scholars consider this theory apocryphal. Linguist Ben Zimmer says it is far more likely that the “o’’ stems from an entirely nonreligious source: the ancient Egyptian-Roman game of tic-tac-toe. The game was originally played with pebbles or coins and only incorporated the easy-to-master symbols of the “x’’ and “o’’ when paper became plentiful. Zimmer also believes this explains why “x’’ and “o’’ are used together.

Despite their relatively recent appearance on Valentine’s Day cards, the “x’’ long ago shed its religious significance, and the “o’’ likely never had one.

XOXO

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Happy Valentine’s Day from The Sutton Place Hotels

 

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CELEBRATE VALENTINE’S DAY WITH TIMELESS ELEGANCE AND CHARM AT THE SUTTON PLACE HOTELS

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Love is in the air this February at The Sutton Place Hotels. Offering exciting and elegant experiences including exclusive room offers, spa packages, and dinners, The Sutton Place Hotel Edmonton and Vancouver have it all covered this Valentine’s Day.

“If you’re looking for a great place to spend time with your sweetheart, look no further than The Sutton Place Hotels,” explained Taj Kassam, president and COO of The Sutton Place Hotels. “No matter who you are, we have created the perfected romantic packages to spoil your loved one.”

Give the perfect gift this Valentine’s Day weekend with a romantic stay in one of our luxurious guest rooms.

love_114016054The Sutton Place Hotel Edmonton

RELAX…
…for those seeking an escape from the everyday hustle and bustle.

Includes:

  • Overnight accommodation
  • Spasation Salon & Spa Couples Treatment: Aroma Steam therapy for two, including a 60-minute couples’ massages, two Classic Manicures, and two Classic Pedicures
  • His and Hers’ monogrammed Sutton Place Hotel bathrobes to take home
  • Starting from $494 per night

INDULGE…
…for those who love to please their palate.

Includes:

  • Overnight accommodation
  • 3-course prix fixe dinner for two at Chop Steakhouse & Bar
  • Mini ‘Chocolate Buffet’ sampler plate for two
  • Starting from $219 per night

UNWIND…
…for those seeking a serene getaway in pure luxury.

Includes:

  • Overnight accommodation
  • Breakfast in bed
  • A complimentary in-room movie
  • Starting from $174 per night

For more information about The Sutton Place Hotel Edmonton’s Valentine’s Day Packages, click here.

istock_000004758316mediumThe Sutton Place Hotel Vancouver

RELAX…
…for those seeking an escape from the everyday hustle and bustle.

Includes:

  • Overnight accommodation
  • Choice of a 60-minute Swedish Couples’ Massage or two Classic Facials at Vida Spa
  • His and Hers’ monogrammed Sutton Place Hotel bathrobes to take home
  • Starting from $459 per night

INDULGE…
…for those who love to please their palate.

Includes:

  • Overnight accommodation
  • 4-course prix fixe dinner for two at Boulevard Kitchen & Oyster Bar
  • Mini ‘Chocolate Buffet’ sampler plate for two
  • Starting from $339 per night

UNWIND…
…for those seeking a serene getaway in pure luxury.

Includes:

  • Overnight accommodation
  • Breakfast in bed
  • A complimentary in-room movie
  • Starting from $224 per night

For more information about The Sutton Place Hotel Vancouver’s Valentine’s Day Packages, click here.

cute coupleIf you’re looking to celebrate Valentine’s Day on a different day than February 14th, then The Sutton Place Hotels have you covered. The perfect romantic package has been created to show your special someone how you truly feel all month which is why Valentine’s Day has been extended this year to encompass the entire month of February. With sparkling wine, chocolate, and breakfast in bed, the perfect way to celebrate love is with this ‘Month of Love’ romantic hotel package.

Click here for The Sutton Place Hotel Edmonton’s Month of Love

Click here for The Sutton Place Hotel Vancouver’s Month of Love

Whether you need an escape from the everyday hustle and bustle, you want to please your palate, or you’re looking for a serene getaway in pure luxury, both The Sutton Place Hotel Edmonton and Vancouver are offering the perfect romantic packages this Valentine’s Day.

Love Stories – What’s Your Favourite?

love_173159543Love is when your knees go weak around that person and where you get butterflies just hearing their name.

It’s when you wake up and go to bed thinking about them.

Love is something complicated yet extremely simple.

On this loving Valentine’s Day, The Sutton Place Hotels thought it would be fun to share our favourite recent literary love stories — and our thoughts on what make them memorable.

Major Pettigrew's book coverHelen Simonson’s debut novel, Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand, proves that a love story about an older couple can be just as enchanting—and just as appealing to readers—as the connection between two freewheeling 20-somethings. Pettigrew, a retired (and very reserved) British military man, is irresistibly attracted to Mrs. Ali, the Pakistani woman who runs a shop in his village. But with Pettigrew’s son and the narrow-minded ladies of the village standing in their way, can the major and Mrs. Ali build a life together? Simonson shows a wonderfully deft hand in exploring the personal and cultural issues that frame this touching story.


This Burns My Heart book coverSamuel Park’s moving first novel, This Burns My Heart, features a strong, memorable heroine torn between love and duty in Korea during the 1960s and 1970s. When Soo-Ja meets Yul, she immediately feels a connection. Unfortunately, she has just agreed to marry another man. Since going back on her promise would mean disgrace for her family, Soo-Ja rejects Yul to marry Min, a decision that haunts her for 20 years. Though Soo-Ja and Yul see each other only periodically, and usually by chance, their fraught encounters are tense with the passion of unrequited love. Fans of grown-up, realistic love stories like Ha Jin’s Waiting or Austen’s Persuasion will devour this debut.


Me Before You book coverLouisa Clark and Will Traynor: The fact these two are such an unlikely pair makes their love story all the more moving. Freshly laid off and desperate for work, “ordinary girl” Lou takes a job as a companion to Will, an acerbic quadriplegic, former adrenaline junkie who’s understandably despondent due to his predicament. Lou speaks her mind, has a razor-sharp wit and is self-deprecating in a way that dares readers not to succumb to her charms, as Will himself eventually does. Yes, Me Before You is a multiple-hankie novel, but the end brims with such hope and promise that readers will find themselves smiling despite their tears.


Zelda Fitzgerald book coverWe often think of brilliant writer F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda as a fast-burning, glitzy mess at the heart of Jazz-Age NYC. Therese Anne Fowler’s novel Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald promises a beautiful and damned love story but also something more. Fowler peels back the layers of history to reveal the unglamorous and rather normal story of their love. It’s the perfect book for readers who like a little dark truth with their romance.


Eleanor & Park book coverEleanor & Park begins when two misfit teens meet on a school bus in 1986. There are no vampires and they don’t live in a dystopian society (depending on your view of suburban Omaha). Rainbow Rowell painstakingly captures the experience of young love—the bliss of holding hands, the shaking fits of glee after a first kiss, the mixtapes—but refuses to shy away from the confusing, untidy aspects that come with the territory. Eleanor and Park are real people with real complexities and a real, grown-up story that will break your heart in the best possible way.

Extreme Luxury and The Ultimate Valentine’s Package Equals Perfect Romance

???????????????????????While women are running around trying to find the perfect Valentine’s Day gift, men too are looking to find a cute and sweet gift for their beloved.

Finding Valentine’s Day gifts shouldn’t be a difficult task because really, most women just want a thoughtful, meaningful gift and maybe some flowers. (and a nice dinner and dessert!) See? Easy!

But if you really have no idea what to get your loved one for V-Day, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

There’s never been an easier way to say “I love you” than with The Sutton Place Hotels’ ‘Once In A Lifetime’ Package. Forget the heart-shaped box filled with chocolates. This package contains Dom Pérignon, a Maserati, and a $100,000 shopping spree at Holt Renfrew.  What’s not to love?

The ‘Once In A Lifetime’ Package was designed to showcase everything passionate that Valentine’s Day has to offer and is available for a mere $500,000. The romance begins right away with door-to-door limo service. Upon arrival at the hotel, the lovers will be whisked away to the Presidential Suite, where they will be served a bottle of Dom Pérignon and hors d’oeuvres. As the couple relaxes with their bubbly, a white-gloved butler will ensure their glasses are never empty and will proceed to serve the couple for the next 24 hours. A six-course candlelit dinner with paired premium wines will then be prepared by a Private Chef in a private dining room. But the romance does not end when dinner does. In the morning, a champagne breakfast will be served in bed while the couple lounges in their personalized monogrammed Frette terry robes. A helicopter will then take the couple on a private scenic tour of the city that is sure to leave them breathless. To complement the hotel experience, the package keeps giving:  a private $100,000 Holt Renfrew shopping spree, a personalized Maserati, $50,000 worth of diamonds and fine jewelry, weekly couple’s massages, and fresh flowers delivered weekly to the couple’s home.

What more could you ask for?

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