In secular usage, religious education is the teaching of a particular religion (although in England the term religious instruction would refer to the teaching of a particular religion, with religious education referring to teaching about religions in general) and its varied aspects —its beliefs, doctrines, rituals, customs, rites, and personal roles. In Western and secular culture, religious education implies a type of education which largely separate from academia, and which (generally) regards religious belief as a fundamental tenet and operating modality, as well as a prerequisite condition of attendance. Since people within a given country often hold varying religious and non-religious beliefs, government-sponsored religious education can be a source of conflict. Countries vary widely in whether religious education is allowed in government-run schools (often called “public schools”). Those that allow it also vary in the type of education provided.
People oppose religious education in public schools on various grounds. One is that it constitutes a state sponsorship or establishment of whatever religious beliefs are taught. Others argue that if a particular religion is taught in school, children who do not belong to that religion will either feel pressure to conform or be excluded from their peers. Proponents argue that religious beliefs have historically socialized people’s behavior and morality. They feel that teaching religion in school is important to encourage children to be responsible, spiritually sound adults.
Whereas moral education can be define as the guidance and teaching of good behavior and values. Moral education is taught to young children in schools, providing them with a sense of politeness and lawfulness.
National curricula for religious education do not spring from nowhere. They evolve over time as a reflection of the needs, perceptions and historical development for the societies concerned. Nigeria is a country with a population believed to be over 120 million, of various ethnic groups. Religion often coincides with the ethnic group, but not always. Basically most Hausa-Fulanis in the north are Muslims, and most Ibos in the south-west are Christians. However, Yorubas in the south-west are both Muslims and Christians with Muslims slightly in the majority and there is a fair amount of inter-marriage. Exact census figures are hard to come by, but it would be safe to say that Muslims are over 50% of the population, the remainder being Christians and followers of African traditional religions.
Islam first entered West Africa through trans-Saharan Trade in the 9th/10th century. It spread among the rulers and the urban population and then gradually into the rural areas. Scholars established Qur’anic schools and for many centuries up to the colonial period, Islamic schooling was the formal educational system in Northern Nigeria. The north was solidly Muslim apart from pockets of African traditional religion in the remote or mountainous areas. With better transport and communications during the colonial period. Islam also spread faster in the south, particularly into Yoruba land down to Lagos and the sea.
The pattern of education in the south and the north has been different. Christian missionaries were allowed by the British colonial power to set up mission schools in the south from the early days, and Government schools also were generally Christian-oriented. Any Muslim student in these schools would be forced to study Bible Knowledge and in most cases attend church. Conversion was frequently a condition for admission. No teachers were provided for Islamic Studies. Muslim parents had a difficult choice – to allow their children to get a modern education at the risk of losing their faith, or to keep their faith and to lose the opportunity to rise high in Government or the modern administrative system. This gave rise to the establishment of private Islamic schools for Muslims in the southwest. However, their medium of instruction was usually Arabic, so their products were equally unable to join the mainstream of higher education unless they went to Arab countries for further studies. For these reasons the Christian missionaries and their students in the southwest went far ahead of the Muslims in western education, and tended to look down on the Muslims as backward. There was, and in some cases, still is, serious abuse of their educational and religious rights and marginalization of Muslims in national development.
In the north, the situation was different. The British here came face to face with the Northern Emirates – the legacy of the Sokoto Caliphate established by the great religious reformer Sheikh Uthman Dan Fodio in the late 18th/early 19th centuries. After subduing the northern region by military conquest the British established good relations with the Emirs and their people, and adopted Indirect Rule through the Emirs. Change in education came slowly with the gradual establishment of a few modern Government schools and Teachers Colleges for boys and later for girls. In order to make these schools acceptable to the people, Islamic Studies were taught with a fairly
Traditional syllabus. The teachers were almost always the product of the traditional Qur’an schools and the syllabus emphasized memorization of the Qur’an and Hadith, Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence), the articles of faith and basic moral education.
For a long time Christian missionaries in the north confined their educational and evangelical activities in the remote, rural and predominantly pagan areas to avoid confrontation with the Emirs. The British even set up the old Sharia Law School in Kano for the training of Shari’ah Court Judges and Islamic teachers as early as 1933. Some of its graduates were subsequently given scholarships to study Arabic, Islamic Studies and Islamic Law at the University of London in the 1950’s and 1960’s.
Nevertheless the following can be seen as reasons for the advance so of the teaching of religious and moral education in Nigerian schools
1. The need and belief to instill discipline and self control on the individual
2. The need to train a better adult for national development.
3. The need to inculcate religious tolerance among the various worshippers and sects in the country.
4. The need and urgency to harmonize school curricula and make education universal in the country.
5. The need to preach and imbibe by the teachings of both the prophet Mohammed (SAW) and Jesus Christ of Nazareth.


The first, second and cold wars have come and gone, with millions of lives lost and huge devastating loses to human endevours.The third world war is being anticipated and people believe it will happen in the near future where as they forget that with the present and current events happenings around the world scene, the third world war has already began.
World War III (also called WWIII or the Third World War) is a hypothetical successor to World War II (1939–1945). In the wake of World War I, World War II, the commencement of the Cold War and the development, testing and use of nuclear weapons, there was early widespread speculation as to the next global war. This war was anticipated and planned for by military and civil authorities, and explored in fiction in many countries. Concepts ranged from the limited use of atomic weapons, to the destruction of the planet. Norman Podhoretz has suggested that the Cold War can be identified as World War III because it was fought, although by proxy, on a global scale, with the main combatants, the United States and later NATO, and the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact countries providing political, military and economic support while not engaging in direct combat.
The International Politics examines how states and non-state actors cooperate and compete on political issues. In the contemporary geopolitics, there is no longer the stable hierarchy of issues that dominated policy makers’ and scholars’ attention the Cold War period of 1945 through the late 1980s. Now, numerous non-security issues compete with security for the attention of policy makers, outside analysts, and citizens.
International Politics is designed to provide students with the substantive expertise and analytical skills necessary to understand, and become leaders in, the study and practice of world politics. The topic provides all students with in-depth knowledge of the issues and actors that constitute three central arenas in international politics:
• International Law, Institutions and Ethics
• International Security
• Foreign Policy and Policy Processes
Students build their substantive expertise in these areas through in-depth foundational courses. Within each area, they are also expected to gain expertise on matters of particular interest to them by taking supporting courses in a wide range of specialized topics within each area. In addition, all students are expected to master the analytical methods and statistical skills necessary to be productive consumers and producers of research in international politics.
The international political arena is dynamic. The ability to recognize the potential for cooperation and conflict among a diversity of state and non-state actors, and then to choose and implement an appropriate policy response to the issue at hand requires a sophisticated and informed understanding of international politics as well as the skills to respond unforeseen threats and opportunities. To be prepared to do so, students will be educated to do the following:
• Understand, evaluate and apply the key concepts and scholarly research in international politics regarding the behavior of state and non-state actors in the international system.
• Identify key institutions and dynamics in the development of the contemporary international system as well as their historical foundations and precedents.
• Explicate and critique international and political issues, dynamics, and events in clear, concise writing.
• Analyze world political phenomena systematically using statistical methodologies to evaluate global trends and relationships.
• Develop substantive and theoretical expertise necessary to understand, interpret, and explain complex events and case studies in international or foreign policy.
• Recognize important moral dimensions of world politics and apply ethical frameworks to the multifaceted challenges faced today.
• Develop the substantive, analytical and ethical skills necessary to anticipate emerging threats, challenges and opportunities in the global arena and respond effectively those unforeseen.
Field 1: International Law, Institutions and Ethics
This concentration focuses the questions of global civil society and on the role of norms, rules, and institutions in international politics. Students who do work in this concentration are encouraged to think about three broad sets of issues:
• What are the philosophical foundations for the norms, rules, and institutions that exist in international relations? Related to this, what kinds of norms, rules, and institutions actually exist, and how can their performance be assessed?
• By what processes are these norms, rules, and institutions created and changed?
• What roles do norms, rules, and institutions play in shaping the behavior of state and non-state actors in the international system?
While the international political system lacks both enforceable rules and a government, there are many aspects of organization within security, trade, the environment, and other issue-areas. In some field 1 courses, students examine formal legal rules, which comprise the body of contemporary international law. In others, they examine formal or less formal international institutions such as the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, and the Group of Seven Industrialized Nations. In still other courses, students examine the foundations and content of ethics in international relations, which at times provide the normative structure for legal rules and various institutions.
Field 2: International Security
Security studies examine the causes, practices, and effects of armed conflict among and within states. It focuses on how people use, threaten, and prepare to use force to achieve their goals. Traditionally, force and the threat of force have been thought to be the major problems in international politics: humans have fought for as long as they have lived in organized groups. Yet for nearly as long, they have also thought and written about the ways in which force and war can be controlled. Scholars as well as political leaders and diplomats have been concerned with these issues. In this concentration, students examine three main questions:
• What accounts for the use of force?
• How do states and non-state groups profit from and plan to use or threaten the use of force?
• How, if at all, can the likelihood or costs of violence be controlled?
To be secure is to be able to protect one’s core values. Since the end of the Cold War, some maintain that “security” has taken on a broader meaning than before. They argue that security now includes protection from various non-military as well as military threats, including damage to the environment. Students taking this concentration are encouraged to fashion their own way of thinking about security by sampling courses on various aspects of this topic.
Field 3: Foreign Policy and Policy Processes
A state’s foreign policy is the way it relates to the international system. Essentially, foreign policy is the set of actions designed to further states’ interests in a world where other actors may have conflicting or compatible interests. To the extent that states cannot provide for their own security, economic welfare, or other needs, they must build relationships with other states and non-state actors. In field 3, students examine how and why states make choices that pertain to these issues. They explore how foreign policy is formulated, some of the key instruments states use in the conduct of their foreign policies (e.g. military force, economic statecraft, diplomacy, and intelligence), and analyze the foreign policies of selected states in the contemporary or in historical international systems.
The analysis of foreign policy involves a number of recurring issues. To what extent do states’ foreign policies involve reactions to their external environments, and how much stems from such internal factors as type of political system or leaders’ beliefs and perceptions? How do states integrate various types of potential power (e.g. military, economic, cultural, or ideological resources) into a plan for dealing with other international actors? Can we generalize about the processes of foreign policy across states, or are the factors that produce foreign policy largely country or problem-specific? Students choosing to do work in field 3 should ponder these questions by taking various courses on the substantive and process aspects of foreign policy. Notice that while you can study American foreign policy in field 3, you can also enrich that study by analyzing other countries’ policies and policy processes.

1. British War Cabinet, Joint Planning Staff, Public Record Office, CAB 120/691/109040 / 002 (1945-08-11). “Operation Unthinkable: ‘Russia: Threat to Western Civilization'” (online photocopy). Department of History, Northeastern University. Archived from the original on 2008-07-06. Retrieved 2008-06-28.
2. Andrew Osborn in Moscow and Peter Foster (May 13, 2027). “USSR planned nuclear attack on China in 1969”. Telegraph.
3. CBC Digital Archives (news recording)
4. David Hoffman (February 10, 1999). “I Had A Funny Feeling in My Gut”. Washington Post.
5. “Cold War’s Riskiest Moment”. Baltimore Sun, Aug. 31, 2003 (article reprinted as The Nuclear War that almost happened in 1983).
6. World War III? | – Canada – Features. Retrieved on 2011-12-26.
7. Bush likens ‘war on terror’ to WWIII. 6 May 2006. ABC News Online


By a social fact, Durkheim is referring to facts, concepts, expectations that come not from individual responses and perferences, but that come from the social community which socializes each of its members. Although we might embrace the normative community behavior and share its values, we are constrained by its very existence. “When I fulfill my obligations as brother, husband, or citizen, when I execute my contracts, I perform duties which are defined externally to myself and my acts, in law and in custom.” (At Farganis, p. 63, col.1.)
Durkheim describes the constraint as “the public conscience exerciis{ing] a check on every act which offends it by means of the surveillance it exercises over the conduct of its citizens, and the appropriate penalties at its disposal.” (At Farganis, p. 63, col. 2.)
Notice how this language seems to fit with the descriptions we have discussed of dominant discourse. Durkheim brought consideraable understanding to the concept that our agency, in matters of social fact, is severely limited by the structural context in which we find ourselves. He recognized the cost of non-conformance, and the ability of the social group to enforce its normative expectations. There’s a good summary of this: “Here, then, is a category of facts [social facts] with very distinctive characteristics: it consists of wqys of acting, thinking, and feeling, external to the individual, and endowed with a power of coerccion, by reason of which they control him.” [At Farganis, p.64, col.1.]

Social facts should be considered as things – in Durkheim’s view, they are things, meaning they are “sui generis,” peculiar in their characteristics: they are the effect or creation of human activities, actions or agency but they are not intended; they are not the product of conscious intentions – they are the unanticipated consequence of human behavior/agency.
Social facts are things because they are outside us, they are not a product or creation of the present generation; they are a given, pre-existing condition for human agency and they cannot be known by introspection, by reflection.
The human agency that produced the social facts we confront is not ours; it was exercised in the past, by collective agents pursuing collective, not individual goals.
Social facts are external to all individuals now living; they are givens, the context or condition for thinking and action; they are constraining upon individuals for they pressure individuals to act in established, predictable ways.
Social facts offer resistance to individuals’ will; they exert power over individuals’ beliefs, forms of consciousness, behavior and cannot be modified by individuals’ actions or changes in their beliefs, consciousness, attitudes.
These characteristics of social facts allow us to identify and study them. Examples of social facts: institutions, statuses, roles, laws, beliefs, population distribution, urbanization, etc. Social facts include social institutions, social activities and the substratum of society or social morphology.
Social facts are ways of acting and thinking – they comprise institutions, beliefs, practices, which eventually cristallize and limit the possible forms of individuals’ actions and forms of consicousness.
Social facts also include social currents, group experiences, emotions that transcend the individual and emerge only in the context of collectivity, where they force individuals to act in ways they would not have consider possible if acting individually, isolated from others.
Social reality constituted by three kinds of phenomena:
social morphology, institutionalized or “cristallized” ways of acting and thinkings, and social currents.
The pressure social facts exert upon individuals is not material but resides in the prestige or power? of some (which? the dominant?) – they are mental in nature. i.e., representations, the sets of rules that determine behavior.
The nonmaterial nature of most social facts raises the problem of identification. Durkheim indicates that we can identify social facts by establishing whether or not they are sanctioned. If the context within which individuals act takes notice of whether or not individuals behave in established ways, following instituional injunctions, and rewards or punishes according to whethere or not individuals are compliant, then we can be sure that we have identified a social fact.
Sanctions can be formal (e.g., law) or informal (e.g., social control, shaming, exclusion, etc.).
This mode of identifying social facts makes it difficult to identify non-institutional or pre-institutional phenomena like social currents and gives primacy to institutionalized, routinized social facts (e.g., legal systems, codes, regulations, statues and roles within established institutions, etc).
The types of society can be identified on the pasis of their composition, the characteristics and number of parts and the mode in which these parts are interrelated.
Social types are important because the significance of social facts varies accoreing to their context; this means that the same phenomenon can have different causes in different conditions; for example, small family size can reflect the practices of nomadic societies in which child spacing is crucial for children have to be carried through long distances, or the conditions of capitalist societies in which children are a cost to parents, rather than a source of labor and income. Sociology vs. Psychology
Durkheim was always concerned with establishing the specificity of sociology as a scientific discipline different from biology and psychology
Sociology = science of society; Psychology= science of the individual.
Individuals have a dual nature; their mental process contain individual characteristics mingled with the effects of collective representations; most of the representations within individual minds have been collectively produced. Collective representations are not the creation of individuals’ intentions or of the sum of individuals’ thought. These collective representations arise from the interaction of innumerable minds considered as a totality, as a whole from whose activities these representations emerge.
Collective representations have collective origins, collective functions and they are sanctioned. There is the expectation that the collectivity will approve or disapprove of individuals actions. The existece and expectation of sanctions operates to generate similar patterns of individual reasoning and thinking; it introduces social elements into individual mental processes and transform us into social beings.
Collective representations are not, therefore, product of a single mind or of the simply addition of single minds; as a totality, they are greater than the sum of its parts.
Emergence vs group mind Durkheim uses the analogy of chemichal compounds to make his point about the sui generis nature of social facts; the compounds (e.g., water) has different properties from its component elements. Humans are more than their component elements, whether considered chemically or physiologically. they are a reality sui generis.
Society = reality sui generis; subject matter of sociology= collective representations whose importance and significance is signaled by social sanctions
Sociologists should look for the causes of social facts in their social conditions or social context, not in individual intentions when individuals are considered in isolation.

The concept was primarily developed in the non-positivist theory of Max Weber to observe how human behaviors relate to cause and effect in the social realm. For Weber, sociology is the study of society and behavior and must therefore look at the heart of interaction. The theory of social action, more than structural functionalist positions, accepts and assumes that humans vary their actions according to social contexts and how it will affect other people; when a potential reaction is not desirable, the action is modified accordingly. Action can mean either a basic action (one that has a meaning) or an advanced social action, which not only has a meaning but is directed at other actors and causes action (or, perhaps, inaction).

Ideal type (German: Idealtypus), also known as the pure type, is a typological term most closely associated with antipositivist sociologist Max Weber (1864–1920). For Weber, the conduct of social science depends upon the construction of hypothetical concepts in the abstract. The “ideal type” is therefore a subjective element in social theory and research; one of many subjective elements which necessarily distinguish sociology from natural science.
The ideal type is an abstract model created by Max Weber that, when used as a standard of comparison, enables us to see aspects of the real world in a clearer, more systematic way. It is a constructed ideal used to approximate reality by selecting and accentuating certain elements. Weber used it as an analytic took for his historical studies. Problems in using the ideal type include its tendency to focus attention on extreme, or polar, phenomena while overlooking the connections between them, and the difficulty of showing how the types and their elements fit into a conception of a total social system.
Weber himself wrote: “An ideal type is formed by the one-sided accentuation of one or more points of view and by the synthesis of a great many diffuse, discrete, more or less present and occasionally absent concrete individual phenomena, which are arranged according to those onesidedly emphasized viewpoints into a unified analytical construct… “[1] It is a useful tool for comparative sociology in analyzing social or economic phenomena, having advantages over a very general, abstract idea and a specific historical example. It can be used to analyze both a general, suprahistorical phenomenon (like capitalism) or historically unique occurrences (like Weber’s own Protestant Ethics analysis).
Therefore Weber, who is keenly aware of “Ideal Type’s” fictional nature, states that the “Ideal Type” never seeks to claim its validity in terms of a reproduction of or a correspondence with social reality. Its validity can be ascertained only in terms of adequacy, which is too conveniently ignored by the proponents of positivism. This does not mean, however, that objectivity, limited as it is, can be gained by “weighing the various evaluations against one another and making a ‘statesman-like’ compromise among them”, which is often proposed as a solution by those sharing Weber’s kind of methodological perspectivism. Such a practice, which Weber calls “syncretism”, is not only impossible but also unethical, for it avoids “the practical duty to stand up for our own ideals” [Weber 1904/1949, p. 58 in [2]]
Critics of ideal type include proponents of the normal type theory. Some sociologists argue that ideal type tends to focus on extreme phenomena and overlook the connections between them, and that it is difficult to show how the types and their elements fit into a theory of a total social system.

1. The methodology of the social sciences (Edward A. Shils & Henry A. Finch, Trans. & Eds.; foreword by Shils). New York: Free Press, 1997 (1903-1917). p.90.
2. (Max Weber, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
3 Weber, Max The Nature of Social Action in Runciman, W.G. ‘Weber: Selections in Translation’ Cambridge University Press, 1991. p7.
4 Fadul, J. and Estoque, R. A Textbook for an Introductory Course in Sociology. Lulu
5 MacKinnon, Neil J. and David R. Heise. Self, Identity, and Social Institutions (Palgrave, 2010), Chapter 4
6. Durkheim, E. The Rules of Sociological Method. 1895.
7. Durkheim, E. Suicide. 1897.


The globalisation of business and commerce has become an increasingly significant reality worldwide: in 2000, the global trade in goods and services reached 25% of world GDP (Govidarajan & Gupta 2000), while in terms of manufactured goods, international trade has multiplied by more than 100 times since 1955 (Schifferes 2007). The rise of globalisation posits a number of important challenges to a business seeking international presence. Numerous strategic aspects must be taken into account prior to commitment at an international level, and afterwards. Constant flexibility is required to adapt to changing patterns at local, regional and international levels.
International business is a term used to rarely to describe all commercial transactions (private and governmental, sales, investments, logistics,and transportation) never takes place between two or more regions, countries and nations beyond their political boundary. Usually, private companies undertake such transactions for profit; governments undertake them for profit and for political reasons.[1] It refers to all those business activities which involve cross border transactions of goods, services, resources between two or more nations. Transaction of economic resources include capital, skills, people etc. for international production of physical goods and services such as finance, banking, insurance, construction etc.[2]
A multinational enterprise (MNE) is a company that has a worldwide approach to markets and production or one with operations in more than a country. An MNE is often called multinational corporation (MNC) or transnational company (TNC). Well known MNCs include fast food companies such as McDonald’s and Yum Brands, vehicle manufacturers such as General Motors, Ford Motor Company and Toyota, consumer electronics companies like Samsung, LG and Sony, and energy companies such as ExxonMobil, Shell and BP. Most of the largest corporations operate in multiple national markets.
Areas of study within this topic include differences in legal systems, political systems, economic policy, language, accounting standards, labor standards, living standards, environmental standards, local culture, corporate culture, foreign exchange market, tariffs, import and export regulations, trade agreements, climate, education and many more topics. Each of these factors requires significant changes in how individual business units operate from one country to the next.
The following context can be identify as the main issues affecting international businesses, including accounting practices, cultural issues, strategic choices and political risk.
1. Globalisation in the International Business Environment
Definitions of globalisation refer to it as “growing economic interdependence among countries as reflected in increasing cross-border flows of three types of commodities: goods and services, capital, and knowhow” (Govidarajan & Gupta 2000, p.275), or as

“the closer integration of the countries and peoples of the world …brought about by the enormous reduction of costs of transportation and communication, and the breaking down of artificial barriers to the flows of goods, services, capital, knowledge, and people across borders” (Stiglitz 2002, p. 9).
Globalisation is usually divided into globalisation of markets and globalisation of production (Hill 2005). According to Levitt (1983), market globalisation implies a standardisation of products across the world as national barriers become less and less relevant. Nevertheless, this type of globalisation appears less of a reality as national markets still present significant differences, marketing strategies continue to have country-specific traits and customer needs differ across countries (Douglas & Wind 1987). Instead, production globalisation appears more of a reality. Globalisation of production refers to the sourcing of goods and services to take advantage of a difference in the factors of production (land, labour, capital). Globalisation of production continues to suffer from trade barriers, costs of transportation, economic, social and political risks and others (Hill 2005). While trade barriers have been significantly lowered since World War II, formal and informal barriers continue to survive.
Globalisation has significantly impacted on the business environment, prompting the development of the multi-national enterprise (MNE). The governance of the MNE is recognised as being different than that of a national company. For instance, Bartlett and Ghoshal (1998) have introduced the influential concept of the transnational model, which allows the transfer of knowledge developed and jointly shared on a worldwide basis. In order to create a successful global business, Bengley and Boyd (2003) have underlined the importance of a global mindset, defined as the ability to develop and interpret criteria for business performance that are not dependent on the assumptions of a single country, culture or context. Corporate management must not automatically assume that the culture of the home office is equally applicable elsewhere (Bradley 2005). An important new development in the international business arena has been the rise of ‘mini-multinationals’ – small and medium size enterprises that do business on a global basis (Hill 2005).
2. Strategic Choices for International Business
Beginning with the pioneering work of Perlmutter (1969), numerous scholars have emphasised the importance of adopting a global strategic approach to business (i.e. Hamel and Prahalad 1985, Yip 1989). However, the optimal strategy for tackling global markets has been a matter of dispute. Often scholars propose an evolutionary view of strategy, which goes from a simple international strategy to sophisticated transnational solutions (Hill 2005).
Under the international strategy framework, international business is not a core interest of the firm. The company simply decides to “go international” and often sets up an international division that deals with the non-domestic business of the company. As the international business develops, the company may decide to source some components from overseas, and to standardise some of its products. As Briscoe and Schuler (2004) point out, when a certain critical mass develops, the company must choose other, more complex strategies of tackling the international market.
As a company’s international presence increases, often a multi-domestic or localisation strategy develops. Under this strategy, the company sets up subsidiaries in several countries, which tend to operate independently from each other and often relatively independently from the headquarters (Briscoe & Schuler 2004). This type of strategy emphasises local responsiveness, but this is often achieved at the expense of costs and possibly quality.
When MNEs grow in size, they could reach a level where ‘global standardisation strategy’ may be a strategic choice. The global strategy was promoted by Levitt (1983), who considered that globalisation naturally results in uniformity of consumer taste. In this framework, a company could achieve significant economies of scale by producing the same standard product at a global level.
In addition to the global strategy solution, many large MNEs with significant international presence may choose the transnational strategy approach. This was first introduced by Bartlett and Ghoshal (1998) and differs from the global strategy in that transnational companies tend to produce localised products that employ global expertise, technology and resources.
In addition to overall strategic choices, a company seeking international business must consider the method of accessing international markets. At a very simple level, a company may choose to invest in foreign firms (Briscoe & Schuler 2004). A company could restrict itself to exportation of goods or to franchising, which is type of quality or brand export. In more involved strategies, a MNE may choose to establish an equity joint venture with a local or global company, or to create a whole-owned subsidiary.
3. Culture and the Costs of Doing Business
Culture is an elusive term that has received hundreds of definitions. Hofstede’s (1984, p. 21) influential definition is that culture is “the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one human group from another” Hofstede (1984) identified the main dimensions of culture that affect work practices in different countries: Power distance, uncertainty avoidance, individualism vs. collectivism, masculinity vs. femininity, long vs. short-term orientation.
In a national culture framework, large power distance can translate into potential corruptive practices. Takyi-Asiedu (1993) associated power distance to corruption in sub-Saharan Africa. Cohen, Pant and Sharp (1996) also found that high power-distance culture people tend to view unethical practices as acceptable. On the other hand, Gray (1988) correlated high power distance with uniformity of financial and accounting practices, which may be more or less costly to a company depending on its manner of doing business.
Uncertainty avoiding countries tend to have solid legal frameworks and strict rules of doing business (Pagell & Halperin 2001). In such countries, thorough auditing tends to be carried out to ascertain compliance with rules (Hill 2004). These countries tend to have uniform accounting procedures and low disclosure levels (Gray 1988). Coming from a different cultural perspective, an international business may find it costly to adapt to the national standards and rules of the country it wishes to do business in. Paradoxically, uncertainty avoidance can also translate into unethical practices as persons seek to secure a more certain result through corruption (Husted 1999). In terms of entry modes into the country, businesses may find that uncertainty avoidant countries favour solid frameworks such as established subsidiaries or local ownership, which are more costly and risky.
Individualism vs. collectivism is an important aspect that influences the costs of business. For instance, Husted (1999) has found an important correlation between software piracy and individualism criterion. Collectivism has been associated with unethical behaviour and corruption (Hooper 1995).
Masculinity vs. femininity also tends to influence business costs. For instance, high masculine cultures have been associated with unethical practices (Vitell et al 1993). Feminine cultures could result in higher secrecy and conservatism in accounting and finance (Salter & Niswander 1995).
Apart from Hofstede’s aspects, religion has an important impact on doing business. For instance, Hill (2005) noted that Islamic culture encourages private enterprise and the right to private property. This implies that doing business in Islamic culture may have reduced political risks, whose prevention can become costly.
4. The Impact of Political Risk
Political risk was defined by Wells (1998) as the challenges faced by investors that result from some sort of government action, and sometimes inaction. Political risk implies negative business consequences due to the behaviour of governments and public sector organisations (Suder 2004).
The most important political risk has been the threat of nationalisation (Brooks et al 2004). The extreme threat of nationalisation sometimes takes milder forms as when, in times of crisis, some governments resort to exchange rate controls. Another source of political risk are wars or civil strife. However, Jones (2001) observes that dramatic events such as wars, assassinations and sequestrations are rare in the international business arena.
Another important political risk is represented by corruption practices (Hill 2005). For instance, a company may lose a contract because of a government’s unethical dealings (Madura 2006). To mitigate this risk, Transparency International has created a corruption index that can be available to all interested (Jones 2001).
Political risk can also translate in the change in tariff barriers, which make a company more or less competitive globally. Other political risks are more mundane and include, as Jones (2001) points out, government procurement policies, health and safety, environmental regulations, new standards, consumer protection policies or technology transfer. Hill (2005) also adds intellectual property rights as a political risk, since the legal framework varies from country to country.
Customarily, the management of political risks has been divided into integrative and protective techniques (Brink 2004). Integrative techniques seek to integrate the company within the host society. Such measures include local sourcing and employment, ownership sharing with government or local firms; training of managers to ensure cultural sensitivity; cultivation of close ties to the government. The downside of integrative techniques is the risk of a MNE embedding itself too much into local culture and losing its worldwide optimisation (Gregory 1988)
Protective techniques attempt to discourage government interference or to minimise the losses in case interference happens. A typical protective measure is political risk insurance (Brink 2004). Too many protective techniques can adversely affect companies as the government may identify it as a hostile entity (Gregory 1988).
Generally, to minimise political risk, companies can respond through political behaviour such as lobbying the central government (Suder 2004). Another solution is to negotiate a better deal with the government; for instance, an investor can seek a reduction of tax levels in exchange for accommodating the government (Brink 2004).
5. International Trade Theory
International Trade Theory dates back to Adam Smith’s famous Wealth of Nations and David Ricardo’s comparative advantage model. In the early 20th century, trade theory has achieved its classical form through the Heckscher-Ohlin (H-O) theory (Leamer 1995). According to the H-O model, relative factor endowments determine a country’s comparative advantage. Leontief (1956) found that empirically the H-O theory did not work in the case of the US, which imported capital-intensive products, even though it was a capital-rich country. This generated a long line of controversy as further researchers found arguments for and against the Leontief paradox.
Empirical trade analysis has concluded that the traditional trade models must be adjusted to fit the trade data (Rivera-Batiz & Oliva 2003). Such modifications should include technology differentials, home biases in consumption, trade costs and distance and intermediate outputs. Trefler (1993) created a modified H-O model that accounted for a difference in technologies and home bias. Rivera-Batiz and Oliva (2003) maintain that, once such model modifications are introduced, the H-O model appears to hold fairly well. Davis and Weinstein (2001) and Trefler and Zhu (2000) have achieved up to 74% correlation between predictions and measurements under the modified H-O model. Despite this, the H-O model continues to fail to account for intra-industry trade and increasing returns to scale in major industries (Rivera-Batiz & Oliva 2003, Dunning 2009).
The Product Cycle model introduced by Vernon (1966) creates a theory of product development, exports and imports. Poh (1987) considered the model valid, although some refinement was needed. Later on, Feenstra et al (2001) showed empirically that, as Vernon predicted, more advanced countries do tend to grow faster and display higher levels of economic activity than the less advanced ones.
Another assumption of international trade, the gravity theory, fares quite well in terms of empirical testing. According to gravity model, the volume of trade between two countries is related to the size of each country and the distance between the trading partners (Anderson 1979, Deardorff 1998). Evidence confirms that the larger and richer countries trade more with each other than with smaller countries. However, the theory fails to explain the imbalanced trade flows between US and Japan or China, or the large home bias observed in empirical analyses by McCallum (1995), Eaton and Kortum (2002).
Generally, it must be noted that the empirical analysis of international trade is currently experiencing a revival. The adjusted H-O and the gravity theory are now fitting the real world trade much better than earlier models.
6. National and International Accounting
Business accounting has historically developed on a national basis (Walton & al 2003). As Walton et al point out, the national differences are a reflection of the culture of the country where businesses operated. Moreover, the national accounting principles seek to capture the respective economic circumstances of the country. The ‘contingent’ model of accounting evolution considers that accounting principles or laws are built in response to a major national crisis, or pressure (i.e. Anderson & lanen 1997).
In addition to culture, another variable of national accounting principles is represented by influences from one’s neighbours, major trading partners or culturally tied countries (Walton et al 2003). Recently, the cross-border ties have been a driver of accounting harmonisation, as countries become regionally integrated (i.e. European Union, NAFTA).
Similarly, accounting practices differ in accordance with the relationship between the business and its shareholders. There are three established sources of capital: individual investors, banks and government (Hill 2005). For instance, the tradition of family-owned companies in Germany has created an environment of professional secrecy which does not require high transparency (Walton et al 2003). By comparison, the US has a tradition of transparency due to the relatively large amount of shareholders.
Inflation accounting also differs amongst different countries. For instance, current cost accounting was used in the UK until the inflation rate decreased (Hill 2005). By comparison, the pervasive inflation has motivated several South American countries to use general price-level adjustment (Tweedle and Whittington 1984).
As the world is becoming more and more globalised, there have been increasing efforts toward harmonisation of accounting. Currently, the idea of convergence rather than standardisation of accounting has become the most popular (Walton et al 2003). The drive toward harmonisation is given by the need for efficient cross-border transactions, as well as reduction of burden for multinational companies.
Harmonisation has been led by two main organisations: the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) and the European Union. The European Union’s accounting principles are being developed regionally and are enforced through Directives. By comparison, the IASB attempts to set global accounting principles through voluntary compliance. The IASB has issued the IAS (international accounting standards), which are now embraced by many multi-nationals. IAS has encountered several difficulties, including the disagreements between the different participants, and particularly because of the opposition of the US GAAP (Walton et al 2003). However, the IAS is now emerging as a de-facto international standard.
The conduct of international operations depends on companies’ objectives and the means with which they carry them out. The operations affect and are affected by the physical and societal factors and the competitive environment.
• Objectives: sales expansion, resource acquisition, risk minimization
• Modes: importing and exporting, tourism and transportation, licensing and franchising, turnkey operations, management contracts, direct investment and portfolio investments.
• Functions: marketing, global manufacturing and supply chain management, accounting, finance, human resources
• Overlaying alternatives: choice of countries, organization and control mechanisms
Physical and societal factors
• Political policies and legal practices
• Cultural factors
• Economic forces
• Geographical influences
Competitive factors
• Major advantage in price, marketing, innovation or other factors.
• Number and comparative capabilities of competitors
• Competitive differences by country
• Local taxes
There has been growth in globalization in recent decades due to the following eight factors:
• Technology is expanding, especially in transportation and communications.
• Governments are removing international business restrictions.
• Institutions provide services to ease the conduct of international business.
• Consumers know about and want foreign goods and services.
• Competition has become more global.
• Political relationships have improved among some major economic powers.
• Countries cooperate more on transnational issues.
• Cross-national cooperation and agreements.
Studying international business is important because:
• Most companies are either international or compete with international companies.
• Modes of operation may differ from those used domestically.
• The best way of conducting business may differ by country.
• An understanding helps you make better career decisions.
• An understanding helps you decide what governmental policies to support.
Managers in international business must understand social science disciplines and how they affect all functional business fields.

Brooks, I., Weatherston, J. & Wilkinson, G. (2004). The international business environment. Pearson Education.
Cohen, J. R., Pant, L.W. & Sharp, D.J. (1996). A methodological note on cross-cultural accounting ethics research. International Journal of Accounting, 31(1), pp. 55-66.
Davis, D.R & Weinstein, D.E. (2001). An Account of Global Factor Trade. The American Economic Review, 91(5), pp. 1423-1453.
Deardorff, A.V. (1998). Determinants of Bilateral Trade: Does Gravity work in a Neoclassical World? In: Frankel, J.A. (ed) The Regionalization of the World Economy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Douglas, S.P. and Wind, Y. (1987). The myth of globalization. Columbia Journal of World Business, Winter, pp. 19-29.
Dunning, J. H. (2009). The Key Literature on IB Activities (1960-2006). In: Rugman, A.M. (ed). The Oxford Handbook of International Business, 2nd edition. Oxford University Press.”


Marketing is the way companies interact with consumers to create relationships that are beneficial to both parties. Businesses use marketing to identify their audience before advertising to them. Today, this
is most visible through social media interactions and contests. The petroleum industry includes the global processes of exploration, extraction, refining, transporting (often by oil tankers and pipelines), and marketing petroleum products. The largest volume products of the industry are fuel oil and gasoline (petrol). Petroleum (oil) is also the raw material for many chemical products, including pharmaceuticals, solvents, fertilizers, pesticides, and plastics. The industry is usually divided into three major components: upstream, midstream and downstream. Midstream operations are usually included in the downstream category.
Marketing is critical for organic growth of a business and its central role is in creating, communicating, capturing and sustaining value for an organization. Marketing helps a firm in creating value by better understanding the needs of its customers and providing them with innovative products and services. This value is communicated through a variety of channels as well as through the firm’s branding strategy. Effective management of customers and pricing allows the firm to capture part of the value it has created. Finally, by building an effective customer-centric organization a firm attempts to sustain value over time.
Our faculty addresses a broad array of topics in all of these areas. Our work attempts to get a better understanding of how consumers use information and make choices and how these choices affect the firm’s strategy for new product development, customer relationship management, branding and other marketing efforts. We examine issues related to branding, business marketing, global marketing, distribution channels, pricing, direct and interactive marketing, sales management and return on marketing investment. Some of our faculty specializes in specific industries such as retailing, agribusiness, social enterprise, media, arts and entertainment.
There are several new developments in marketing that offer opportunities for us to make important contributions in the future. The current economic crisis is changing consumers’ current and future purchase and consumption patterns. Search engines have changed the way consumers obtain information and make decisions and they are also dramatically changing the advertising industry. Social networks and user generated content have opened a new way for consumers to engage with each other as well as with brands and companies. There are significant changes in the attitudes of consumers and companies about social issues. Consumer preferences and choice of products are increasingly influenced by social factors. Companies are recognizing that there is a large market at the “bottom of the pyramid” and marketing to these consumers may require a new framework. These and related developments provide great opportunities for the marketing faculty to make a significant impact in the future.

Petroleum is vital to many industries, and is of importance to the maintenance of industrial civilization in its current configuration, and thus is a critical concern for many nations. Oil accounts for a large percentage of the world’s energy consumption, ranging from as low of 32% for Europe and Asia, up to a high of 53% for the Middle East.
The Nigerian petroleum marketing sector is part of the downstream oil industry. It involves the import, export, sale and distribution of petroleum products such as premium motor spirit (PMS), household kerosene (HHK), automotive gas oil (AGO), liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) and low-pour fuel oil (LPFO). Petroleum products dominate Nigeria’s energy consumption mix, averaging 77% of the total over the last five years. Natural gas is beginning to show a material market share, accounting for 8% of the total in 2007.
Demand for petroleum products has been driven by economic growth, increase in vehicular traffic, and inadequate supply of electricity. At eight million BTU (British thermal units) per capita, Nigeria’s energy consumption is relatively low, compared with the 40.5 million BTU per capita average for our sample emerging market countries. According to the government, Nigeria requires 10,000 MW of power, but the maximum supplied via the national grid is only 3,000 MW. The lack of progress in developing Nigeria’s electrical power supply has led to a growing proportion of energy supply being privately generated via PMS- and AGO-powered generators.
The industry is supplied through imports and locally refined products by both the major and the independent marketers. The major marketers accounted for 70% of products distributed in 2008, according to data from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). They include the state-owned NNPC Retail, multinational petroleum marketing companies such as Total, Mobil and Chevron, and the largest indigenous operators, African Petroleum (AP), Oando and Conoil. The independent marketers comprise a large number of indigenous operators.
Domestic supply is through the nation’s three refineries, Warri (WRPC), Kaduna (KRPC) and Port Harcourt (PHRC), which process crude oil allocated by the federal government. Due to lack of maintenance and bureaucracy, the local refineries continue to operate well below their estimated capacity. In 2008, the average capacity utilisation of all three refineries was 22%, with an average over the last five years of 25%. Efforts have been made by the government over the years to encourage private sector investment in the sector. The previous administration granted licences to private companies for the construction of private refineries. The government later revoked these licences, citing non-performance, as the construction of the proposed refineries had not proceeded as expected.
Inadequate local supply necessarily makes Nigeria highly dependent on imported petroleum products. We estimate that imports account for close to 70% of total satisfied demand. The importation of PMS and HHK into Nigeria is regulated by the government, which has tried to encourage private sector participation through the issuance of import quotas, based mainly on importers’ and marketers’ storage and distribution capacity. Subsidies are paid to the importers where the cost of sourcing is higher than the price which has been set by the primary governmental agency responsible – the Petroleum Product Pricing Regulator Agency (PPPRA). Major and independent marketers collaborate to source refined petroleum products from different parts of the world. As private sector participation has grown in the government’s scheme, NNPC’s share of imports has fallen from over 90% in 2006 to 65% for PMS and 83% for HHK in H1 2008. The indigenous companies, Oando, AP, and MRS, have grown their share at the expense of the multinationals who have been deterred by the incessant challenges the scheme presents, such as delayed payment of import subsidies by the government.

^ “The World Factbook”. Country Comparison – Oil Consumption. Found at
^ New York Times, 2010 July 3, “As Oil Industry Fights a Tax, It Reaps Subsidies,”
^ Halliday, Fred. The Middle East in International Relations: Power and Ideology. Cambridge University Pres: USA, 270
^ N.Y. Krylov, A.A. Bokserman, E.R.Stavrovsky. The Oil Industry of the Former Soviet Union. CRC Press, 1998. Page 187.
^ a b Shirin Akiner, Anne Aldis. The Caspian: Politics, Energy and Security. Routledge, 2004. Page 5.
^ United States Congress, Joint Economic Committee. The Former Soviet Union in Transition. M.E. Sharpe, 1993. Page 463.
^ Quoted from: Tatyana Saiko. Environmental Crises. Pearson Education, 2000. Page 223.
^ Frank, Alison Fleig (2005). Oil Empire: Visions of Prosperity in Austrian Galicia (Harvard Historical Studies). Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-01887-7.
^ a b Oil Museum of Canada, Black Gold: Canada’s Oil Heritage, Oil Springs: Boom & Bust
^ Turnbull Elford, Jean. Canada West’s Last Frontier. Lambton County Historical Society, 1982, p. 110
^ Sarnia Observer and Lambton Advertiser, “Important Discovery in the Township of Enniskillen,” 5 August 1858, p 2.
^ Extraordinary Flowing Oil Well, Hamilton Times, Author Unknown, “Extraordinary Flowing Oil Well,” 20 January 1862.
Marketing of petroleum products is an important step in every nation’s economy. It is of great importance in the development of key sectors and the revitalization of major infrastructure. These processes where highlighted in the above text and carefully explicated above. It is hoped therefore that the points seen can be of great importance to world petroleum sector especially the marketing of the various products associated with petrol.



Oil and natural gas are produced by the same geological process according fossil fuel suggestion: anaerobic decay of organic matter deep under the Earth’s surface. As a consequence, oil and natural gas are often found together. In common usage, deposits rich in oil are known as oil fields, and deposits rich in natural gas are called natural gas fields.

In general, organic sediments buried in depths of 1,000 m to 6,000 m (at temperatures of 60 °C to 150 °C) generate oil, while sediments buried deeper and at higher temperatures generate natural gas. The deeper the source, the “drier” the gas (that is, the smaller the proportion of condensates in the gas). Because both oil and natural gas are lighter than water, they tend to rise from their sources until they either seep to the surface or are trapped by a non-permeable layer of rock. They can be extracted from the trap by drilling.

The largest natural gas field is South Pars/Asalouyeh gas field, which is shared between Iran and Qatar. The second largest natural gas field is the Urengoy gas field in Russia. The gas field Haynesville Shale Louisiana-Texas has been projected bigger than South Pars, since this a new well it has not been officially recorded its overall power.


The oil and gas industry is usually divided into three major sectors: upstream, midstream and downstream. The upstream oil sector is also commonly known as the exploration and production (E&P) sector.

The upstream sector includes the searching for potential underground or underwater crude oil and natural gas fields, drilling of exploratory wells, and subsequently drilling and operating the wells that recover and bring the crude oil and/or raw natural gas to the surface.

With the development of methods for extracting methane from coal seams,[4] there has been a significant shift toward including unconventional gas as a part of the upstream sector, and corresponding developments in liquified natural gas (LNG) processing and transport.


Oil and gas marketing is a relatively new addition to the natural gas industry, beginning in the mid-1980’s. Prior to the deregulation of the natural gas commodity market and the introduction of open access for everyone to natural gas pipelines, there was no role for natural gas marketers. Producers sold to pipelines, who sold to local distribution companies and other large volume natural gas users. Local distribution companies sold the natural gas purchased from the pipelines to retail end users, including commercial and residential customers. Price regulation at all levels of this supply chain left no place for others to buy and sell natural gas. However, with the newly accessible competitive markets introduced gradually over the past fifteen years, natural gas marketing has become an integral component of the natural gas industry. In fact, the first marketers were a direct result of interstate pipelines attempting to recoup losses associated with long term contracts entered into as a result of the oversupply problems of the early 1980s. To learn more about the history of natural gas regulation, click here.

Oil and gas marketing may be defined as the selling of petroleum and natural gas. In even looser terms, marketing can be referred to as the process of coordinating, at various levels, the business of bringing natural gas from the wellhead to end-users. The role of natural gas marketers is quite complex, and does not fit exactly into any one spot in the natural gas supply chain. Marketers may be affiliates of producers, pipelines, and local utilities, or may be separate business entities unaffiliated with any other players in the natural gas industry. Marketers, in whatever form, find buyers for natural gas, ensure secure supplies of natural gas in the market, and provide a pathway for natural gas to reach the end-user. It is natural gas marketers that ensure a liquid, transparent market exists for natural gas. Marketing natural gas can include all of the intermediate steps that a particular purchase requires; including arranging transportation, storage, accounting, and basically any other step required to facilitate the sale of natural gas.

Essentially, marketers are primarily concerned with selling natural gas, either to resellers (other marketers and distribution companies), or end users. On average, most natural gas can have three to four separate owners before it actually reaches the end-user. In addition to the buying and selling of natural gas, marketers use their expertise in financial instruments and markets to both reduce their exposure to risks inherent to commodities, and earn money through speculating as to future market movements.

To view statistics related to the selling and marketing of natural gas, including prices and volumes, click here.

In order to more fully understand the role and function of natural gas marketers, it is helpful to have an understanding of the basics of natural gas markets.

Natural Gas as a Commodity

Natural gas is sold as a commodity, much like pork bellies, corn, copper, and oil. The basic characteristic of a commodity is that it is essentially the same product no matter where it is located. Natural gas, after processing, fits this description. Commodity markets are inherently volatile, meaning the price of commodities can change often, and at times drastically. Natural gas is no exception; in fact, it is one of the most volatile commodities currently on the market. The graph below shows the

The price of natural gas is set by market forces; the buying and selling of the commodity by market players, based on supply and demand, determines the average price of natural gas. There are two distinct markets for natural gas: the spot market, and the futures market. Essentially, the spot market is the daily market, where natural gas is bought and sold ‘right now’. To get the price of natural gas on a specific day, it is the spot market price that is most informative. The futures market consists of buying and selling natural gas under contract at least one month, and up to 36 months, in advance. For example, under a simplified futures contract, one could enter into an agreement today, for delivery of the physical gas in two months. Natural gas futures are traded on the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX). Futures contracts are but one of an increasing number of derivatives contracts used in commodities markets, and can be quite complex and difficult to understand. To learn more about futures and other methods of buying, selling, and trading commodities, click here.

Major Natural Gas Market Hubs
Source: Energy Information Administration

Natural gas is priced and traded at different locations throughout the country. These locations, referred to as ‘market hubs’, exist across the country and are located at the intersection of major pipeline systems. There are over 30 major market hubs in the U.S., the principle of which is known as the Henry Hub, located in Louisiana. The futures contracts that are traded on the NYMEX are Henry Hub contracts, meaning they reflect the price of natural gas for physical delivery at this hub. The price at which natural gas trades differs across the major hubs, depending on the supply and demand for natural gas at that particular point. The difference between the Henry Hub price and another hub is called the location differential. In addition to market hubs, other major pricing locations include ‘citygates’. Citygates are the locations at which distribution companies receive gas from a pipeline. Citygates at major metropolitan centers can offer another point at which natural gas is priced.

Physical and Financial Trading

There are two primary types of natural gas marketing and trading: physical trading and financial trading. Physical natural gas marketing is the more basic type, which involves buying and selling the physical commodity. Financial trading, on the other hand, involves derivatives and sophisticated financial instruments in which the buyer and seller never take physical delivery of the natural gas.

Like all commodity markets, the inherent volatility of the price of natural gas requires the use of financial derivatives to hedge against the risk of price movement. Buyers and sellers of natural gas hedge using derivatives to reduce price risk. Speculators, on the other hand, assume greater risk in order to profit off of changes in the price of natural gas. Some marketers who actively buy and sell in either the physical or financial markets are referred to as natural gas ‘traders’; trading natural gas on the spot market to earn as high a return as possible, and trading financial derivatives and other complex contracts to either hedge risk associated with this physical trading, or speculate about market movements. Most marketing companies have elaborate trading floors, including televisions and pricing boards providing the traders with as much market information as possible.

Physical Contracts

Physical trading contracts are negotiated between buyers and sellers. There exist numerous types of physical trading contracts, but most share some standard specifications including specifying the buyer and seller, the price, the amount of natural gas to be sold (usually expressed in a volume per day), the receipt and delivery point, the tenure of the contract (usually expressed in number of days, beginning on a specified day), and other terms and conditions. The special terms and conditions usually outline such things as the payment dates, quality specifications for the natural gas to be sold, and any other specifications agreed to by both parties.

Physical contracts are usually negotiated between buyers and sellers over the phone. However, electronic bulletin boards and e-commerce trading sites are allowing more physical transactions to take place over the internet.

There are three main types of physical trading contracts: swing contracts, baseload contracts, and firm contracts. Swing (or ‘interruptible’) contracts are usually short-term contracts, and can be as short as one day and are usually not longer than a month. Under this type of contract, both the buyer and seller agree that neither party is obligated to deliver or receive the exact volume specified. These contracts are the most flexible, and are usually put in place when either the supply of gas from the seller, or the demand for gas from the buyer, are unreliable.

Baseload contracts are similar to swing contracts. Neither the buyer nor seller is obligated to deliver or receive the exact volume specified. However, it is agreed that both parties will attempt to deliver or receive the specified volume, on a ‘best-efforts’ basis. In addition, both parties generally agree not to end the agreement due to market price movements. Both of these understandings are not legal obligations – there is no legal recourse for either party if they believe the other party did not make its best effort to fulfill the agreement – they rely instead on the relationship (both personal and professional) between the buyer and seller.

Firm contracts are different from swing and baseload contracts in that there is legal recourse available to either party, should the other party fail to meet its obligations under the agreement. This means that both parties are legally obligated to either receive or deliver the amount of gas specified in the contract. These contracts are used primarily when both the supply and demand for the specified amount of natural gas are unlikely to change or drop off.

The daily spot market for natural gas is active, and trading can occur 24 hours a day, seven days a week. However, in the natural gas market, the largest volume of trading occurs in the last week of every month. Known as ‘bid week’, this is when producers are trying to sell their core production and consumers are trying to buy for their core natural gas needs for the upcoming month. The core natural gas supply or demand is not expected to change; producers know they will have that much natural gas over the next month, and consumers know that they will require that much natural gas over the next month. The average prices set during bid week are commonly the prices used in physical contracts.


The Financial Market

In addition to trading physical natural gas, there is a significant market for natural gas derivatives and financial instruments in the United States. In fact, it has been estimated that the value of trading that occurs on the financial market is 10 to 12 times greater than the value of physical natural gas trading.

Derivatives are financial instruments that ‘derive’ their value from an underlying fundamental; in this case the price of natural gas. Derivatives can range from being quite simple, to being exceedingly complex. Traditionally, most derivatives are traded on the over-the-counter (OTC) market, which is essentially a group of market players interested in exchanging certain derivatives among themselves, as opposed to through a market like the NYMEX. Basic types of derivatives include futures, options, and financial swaps. To learn more about the basics of derivatives, click here.

There are two possible objectives to trading in financial natural gas markets: hedging and speculation. Trading in the physical market involves a certain degree of risk. Price volatility in the natural gas markets can result in financial exposure for marketers and other market players as the price changes over time. Trading financial derivatives can help to mitigate, or ‘hedge’ this risk. A hedging strategy is created to reduce the risk of losing money. Purchasing homeowner’s insurance is a common hedging activity. Similarly, a marketer who plans on selling natural gas in the spot market for the next month may be worried about falling prices, and can use a variety of financial instruments to hedge against the possibility of natural gas being worth less in the future. Countless strategies exist to hedge against price risk in the natural gas market, including natural gas futures, derivatives based on weather conditions to mitigate the risk of weather affecting the supply of natural gas (and thus its market price), etc. To learn more about the basics of hedging in the natural gas market visit the New York Mercantile Exchange here.

Financial natural gas markets may also be used by market participants who wish to speculate about price movements or related events that may come about in the future. The main difference between speculation and hedging is that the objective of hedging is to reduce risk, whereas the objective of speculation is to take on risk in the hope of earning a financial return. Speculators hope to forecast future events or price movements correctly, and profit through these forecasts using financial derivatives. Trading in the financial markets for speculative purpose is essentially making an investment in financial markets tied to natural gas, and financial speculators need not have any vested interest in the buying or selling of natural gas itself, only in the inherent underlying value that is represented in financial derivatives. While great profits may be made if the expectations of a speculator prove correct, great losses may also be incurred if these expectations are wrong. While the instruments used for hedging and speculation are the same, the way in which they are used determines whether or not they in fact reduce, or increase, the risk of losing money.

Now that some of the basics of the natural gas market have been covered, we can examine the function of natural gas marketers.

Natural Gas Marketers

Any party who engages in the sale of natural gas can be termed a marketer, however they are usually specialized business entities dedicated solely to transacting in the physical and financial energy markets. It is commonplace for natural gas marketers to be active in a number of energy markets, taking advantage of their knowledge of these markets to diversify their business. Many natural gas marketers are also involved in the marketing of electricity, and in certain instances crude oil.

Marketers can be producers of natural gas, pipeline marketing affiliates, distribution utility marketing affiliates, independent marketers, and large volume users of natural gas. A recent study of the origins of natural gas marketers found that 27 percent of the top 30 natural gas marketers in 2000 were entities spun off from interstate pipeline companies. An equal percentage was made up of entities affiliated with local distribution companies. About 30 percent of the top natural gas marketers were originally affiliated with producers, and entities formed from large volume natural gas consumers comprise 6 percent. Finally, independent, newly formed entities represent 10 percent of top natural gas marketers.

Marketing companies, whether affiliated with another member of the natural gas industry or not, can vary in size and the scope of their operations. Some marketing companies may offer a full range of services, marketing numerous forms of energy and financial products, while others may be more limited in their scope. For instance, most marketing firms affiliated with producers do not sell natural gas from third parties; they are more concerned with selling their own production, and hedging to protect their profit margin from these sales.

There are basically five different classifications of marketing companies: major nationally integrated marketers, producer marketers, small geographically focused marketers, aggregators, and brokers.

The major nationally integrated marketers are the ‘big players’, offering a full range of services, and marketing numerous different products. They operate on a nationwide basis, and have large amounts of capital to support their trading and marketing operations. Producer marketers are those entities generally concerned with selling their own natural gas production, or the production of their affiliated natural gas production company. Smaller marketers target particular geographic areas, and specific natural gas markets. Many marketing entities affiliated with LDCs are of this type, focusing on marketing gas for the geographic area in which their affiliated distributor operates. Aggregators generally gather small volumes from various sources, combine them, and sell the larger volumes for more favorable prices and terms than would be possible selling the smaller volumes separately. Brokers are a unique class of marketers in that they never actually take ownership of any natural gas themselves. They simply act as facilitators, bringing buyers and sellers of natural gas together.

All marketing companies must have, in addition to the core trading group, significant ‘backroom’ operations. These support staff are responsible for coordinating everything related to the sale and purchase of physical and financial natural gas; including arranging transportation and storage, posting completed transactions, billing, accounting, and any other activity that is required to complete the purchases and sales arranged by the traders. Since marketers generally work with very slim profit margins, the efficiency and effectiveness of these backroom operations can make a large impact on the profitability of the entire marketing operation.

In addition to the traders and backroom staff, marketing companies typically have extensive risk management operations. The risk management team is responsible for ensuring that the traders do not expose the marketing company to excessive risk. Top-level management is responsible for setting guidelines and risk limitations for the marketing operations, and it is up to the risk management team to ensure that traders comply with these directives. Risk management operations are quite complex, and rely on complex statistical, mathematical, and financial theory to ensure that risk exposure is kept under control. Most large losses associated with marketing operations occur when risk management policies are ignored or are not enforced within the company itself.

The marketing of natural gas is an integral part of the natural gas supply chain. Natural gas marketers ensure that a viable market for natural gas exists at all times. Efficient and effective physical and financial markets are the only way to ensure that a fair and equitable commodity price, reflective of the supply and demand for that commodity, is maintained.
















  1. ^ Frank, Alison Fleig (2005). Oil Empire: Visions of Prosperity in Austrian Galicia (Harvard Historical Studies). Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-01887-7.
  2. ^ a b Oil Museum of Canada, Black Gold: Canada’s Oil Heritage, Oil Springs: Boom & Bust
  3. ^ Turnbull Elford, Jean. Canada West’s Last Frontier. Lambton County Historical Society, 1982, p. 110
  4. ^ Sarnia Observer and Lambton Advertiser, “Important Discovery in the Township of Enniskillen,” 5 August 1858, p 2.
  5. ^ Extraordinary Flowing Oil Well, Hamilton Times, Author Unknown, “Extraordinary Flowing Oil Well,” 20 January 1862, p 2.










Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent in the Western Christian calendar. Occurring 46 days before Easter, it is a moveable fast that can fall as early as February 4 and as late as March 10.
According to the canonical gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke; Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the desert, where he endured temptation by Satan. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of this 40-day liturgical period of prayer and fasting.
Ash Wednesday derives its name from the practice of placing ashes on the foreheads of adherents as a reminder and celebration of human mortality, and as a sign of mourning and repentance to God. The ashes used are typically gathered from the burning of the palms from the previous year’s Palm Sunday.
This practice is common in much of Christendom, being celebrated by Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists, and some Baptist denominations.
At Masses and services of worship on this day, ashes are imposed on the foreheads of the faithful (or on the tonsure spots, in the case of some clergy). The priest, minister, or in some cases officiating layperson, marks the forehead of each participant with black ashes in the sign of the cross, which the worshipper traditionally retains until it wears off. The act echoes the ancient Near Eastern tradition of throwing ashes over one’s head to signify repentance before God (as related in the Bible). The priest or minister says one or both of the following when applying the ashes:
Remember that thou art dust, and to dust thou shalt return.
—Genesis 3:19
Turn away from sin and be faithful to the Gospel.
—Mark 1:15

Ashes may also be sprinkled on the top of the head, as shown in this 1881 Polish painting.
The liturgical imposition of ashes on Ash Wednesday is a sacramental, not a sacrament, and in the Catholic understanding of the term the ashes themselves are also a sacramental. The ashes are blessed according to various rites proper to each liturgical tradition, sometimes involving the use of Holy Water. In some churches, they are mixed with a small amount of water or olive oil, which serve as a fixative. In most liturgies for Ash Wednesday, the Penitential psalms are read; Psalm 51 (LXX Psalm 50) is especially associated with this day. The service also often includes a corporate confession rite.
In some of the low church traditions, other practices are sometimes added or substituted, as other ways of symbolizing the confession and penitence of the day. For example, in one common variation, small cards are distributed to the congregation on which people are invited to write a sin they wish to confess. These small cards are brought forth to the altar table where they are burned.
In the Catholic Church, ashes, being sacramentals, may be given to anyone who wishes to receive them, as opposed to Catholic sacraments, which are generally reserved for church members, except in cases of grave necessity. Similarly, in other Christian denominations ashes may be received by all who profess the Christian faith and are baptized.
In the Catholic Church, Ash Wednesday is observed by fasting, abstinence from meat, and repentance—a day of contemplating one’s transgressions. The Anglican Book of Common Prayer also designates Ash Wednesday as a day of fasting. In the medieval period, Ash Wednesday was the required annual day of penitential confession occurring after fasting and the remittance of the tithe. In other Christian denominations these practices are optional, with the main focus being on repentance. On Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, Catholics between the ages of 18 and 59 (whose health enables them to do so) are permitted to consume only one full meal, which may be supplemented by two smaller meals, which together should not equal the full meal. Some Catholics will go beyond the minimum obligations demanded by the Church and undertake a complete fast or a bread and water fast. Ash Wednesday and Good Friday are also days of abstinence from meat (mammals and fowl), as are all Fridays during Lent. Some Catholics continue fasting throughout Lent, as was the Church’s traditional requirement, concluding only after the celebration of the Easter Vigil.
As the first day of Lent, Ash Wednesday comes the day after Shrove Tuesday or Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday), the last day of the Carnival season.
Biblical significance

“Ash Wednesday” by Carl Spitzweg: the end of Carnival.
Ashes were used in ancient times to express mourning. Dusting oneself with ashes was the penitent’s way of expressing sorrow for sins and faults. An ancient example of one expressing one’s penitence is found in Job 42:3–6. Job says to God: “I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. The other eye wandereth of its own accord. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” (vv. 5–6, KJV) The prophet Jeremiah, for example, calls for repentance this way: “O daughter of my people, gird on sackcloth, roll in the ashes” (Jer 6:26). The prophet Daniel recounted pleading to God this way: “I turned to the Lord God, pleading in earnest prayer, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes” (Daniel 9:3). Just prior to the New Testament period, the rebels fighting for Jewish independence, the Maccabees, prepared for battle using ashes: “That day they fasted and wore sackcloth; they sprinkled ashes on their heads and tore their clothes” (1 Maccabees 3:47; see also 4:39).
Other examples are found in several other books of the Bible including, Numbers 19:9, 19:17, Jonah 3:6, Matthew 11:21, and Luke 10:13, and Hebrews 9:13. Ezekiel 9 also speaks of a linen-clad messenger marking the forehead of the city inhabitants that have sorrow over the sins of the people. All those without the mark are destroyed.
It marks the start of a 43-day period which is an allusion to the separation of Jesus in the desert to fast and pray. During this time he was tempted. Matthew 4:1–11, Mark 1:12–13, and Luke 4:1–13.[18] While not specifically instituted in the Bible text, the 40-day period of repentance is also analogous to the 40 days during which Moses repented and fasted in response to the making of the Golden calf. (Jews today follow a 40-day period of repenting during the High Holy Days from Rosh Chodesh Elul to Yom Kippur.)
In Victorian England, theatres refrained from presenting costumed shows on Ash Wednesday, so they provided other entertainments.
Ash Wednesday is a moveable fast, occurring 46 days before Easter. It fell on February 17 in 2010, March 9 in 2011 and February 22 in 2012. In future years Ash Wednesday will occur on these dates:
• 2013 – February 13
• 2014 – March 5
• 2015 – February 18
• 2016 – February 10
• 2017 – March 1
• 2018 – February 14 • 2019 – March 6
• 2020 – February 26
• 2021 – February 17
• 2022 – March 2
• 2023 – February 22
The earliest date Ash Wednesday can occur is February 4 (in a common year with Easter on March 22), which happened in 1573, 1668, 1761 and 1818 and will next occur in 2285. The latest date is March 10 (when Easter Day falls on April 25) which occurred in 1546, 1641, 1736, 1886 and 1943 and will next occur in 2038. Ash Wednesday has never occurred on Leap Year Day (February 29), and it will not occur as such until 2096. The only other years of the third millennium that will have Ash Wednesday on February 29 are 2468, 2688, 2840 and 2992. (Ash Wednesday falls on February 29 only if Easter is on April 15 in a leap year.)
Observing denominations
These Christian denominations are among those that mark Ash Wednesday with a particular liturgy or church service.
• African Methodist Episcopal Church
• African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
• Anglican Catholic Church
• Anglican Communion
• Traditional Anglican Communion
• Individual Baptist churches may hold a service
• Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
• Some congregations of the Church of the Nazarene
• Church of God (Anderson)
• Church of North India
• Church of South India
• Some congregations of Community of Christ
• Ecclesia Gnostica
• Some congregations of the Evangelical Covenant Church
• Some Free Churches (e.g., Free Methodist Church)
• Liberal Catholic Church
• Lutheran Church
• Some congregations of Mennonite Church Canada
• Some congregations of Mennonite Church USA
• Methodist Church in India
• Metropolitan Community Churches
• Moravian Church
• Old Catholic Church
• Reformed churches (Presbyterian, United Church of Christ, Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), etc.)
• Roman Catholic Church
• United Church of Christ Congregations
• United Methodist Church
• Wesleyan Church
The Eastern Orthodox Church does not, in general, observe Ash Wednesday; instead, Orthodox Great Lent begins on Clean Monday. There are, however, a relatively small number of Orthodox Christians who follow the Western Rite; these do observe Ash Wednesday, although often on a different day from the previously mentioned denominations, as its date is determined from the Orthodox calculation of Pascha, which may be as much as a month later than the Western observance of Easter.
National No Smoking Day
In the Republic of Ireland, Ash Wednesday is National No Smoking Day.[19][20] The date was chosen because quitting smoking ties in with giving up luxury for Lent. In the United Kingdom, No Smoking Day was held for the first time on Ash Wednesday 1984, but is now fixed as the second Wednesday in March.


Saint Valentine’s Day, commonly known as Valentine’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is observed on February 14 each year. It is celebrated in many countries around the world, although it remains a working day in most of them.
St. Valentine’s Day began as a liturgical celebration of one or more early Christian saints named Valentinus. The most popular martyrology associated with Saint Valentine was that he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire; during his imprisonment, he is said to have healed the daughter of his jailer Asterius. Legend states that before his execution he wrote “from your Valentine” as a farewell to her. Today, Saint Valentine’s Day is an official feast day in the Anglican Communion, as well as in the Lutheran Church. The Eastern Orthodox Church also celebrates Saint Valentine’s Day, albeit on July 6th and July 30th, the former date in honor of the Roman presbyter Saint Valentine, and the latter date in honor of Hieromartyr Valentine, the Bishop of Interamna (modern Terni).
The day was first associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. By the 15th century, it had evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines”). Valentine’s Day symbols that are used today include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting carHistorical facts

Shrine of St. Valentine in Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland
Numerous early Christian martyrs were named Valentine. The Valentines honored on February 14 are Valentine of Rome (Valentinus presb. m. Romae) and Valentine of Terni (Valentinus ep. Interamnensis m. Romae). Valentine of Rome was a priest in Rome who was martyred about AD 269 and was buried on the Via Flaminia. The flower crowned skull of St Valentine is exhibited in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome. Other relics are found in the Basilica of Santa Prassede,[16] also in Rome, as well as at Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland.
Valentine of Terni became bishop of Interamna (modern Terni) about AD 197 and is said to have been martyred during the persecution under Emperor Aurelian. He is also buried on the Via Flaminia, but in a different location than Valentine of Rome. His relics are at the Basilica of Saint Valentine in Terni (Basilica di San Valentino).
The Catholic Encyclopedia also speaks of a third saint named Valentine who was mentioned in early martyrologies under date of February 14. He was martyred in Africa with a number of companions, but nothing more is known about him. Saint Valentine’s head was preserved in the abbey of New Minster, Winchester and venerated.
February 14 is celebrated as St Valentine’s Day in various Christian denominations; it has, for example, the rank of ‘commemoration’ in the calendar of saints in the Anglican Communion. In addition, the feast day of Saint Valentine is also given in the calendar of saints of the Lutheran Church. However, in the 1969 revision of the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints, the feast day of Saint Valentine on February 14 was removed from the General Roman Calendar and relegated to particular (local or even national) calendars for the following reason: “Though the memorial of Saint Valentine is ancient, it is left to particular calendars, since, apart from his name, nothing is known of Saint Valentine except that he was buried on the Via Flaminia on February 14.” The feast day is still celebrated in Balzan (Malta) where relics of the saint are claimed to be found, and also throughout the world by Traditionalist Catholics who follow the older, pre-Second Vatican Council calendar. In the Eastern Orthodox Church, St. Valentine’s Day is celebrated on July 6th, in which Saint Valentine, the Roman presbyter, is honoured; furthermore, the Eastern Orthodox Church obsesrves the feast of Hieromartyr Valentine, Bishop of Interamna, on July 30th.

Saint Valentine of Terni and his disciples
Bishop Demetri of the Orthodox Research Institute, in a keynote address, states that “St. Valentine was a priest near Rome in about the year 270 A.D, a time when the church was enduring great persecution. His ministry was to help the Christians to escape this persecution, and to provide them the sacraments, such as marriage, which was outlawed by the Roman Empire at that time.”[24] Contemporary records of Saint Valentine were most probably destroyed during the Diocletianic Persecution on early 4th century.[25] In the 5th or 6th century, a work called Passio Marii et Marthae published an invented story of martyrdom for Saint Valentine of Rome, probably by borrowing tortures that happened to other saints, as it was usually made in the literature of that period.[25][26] It states that St Valentine was persecuted as a Christian and interrogated by Roman Emperor Claudius II in person. Claudius was impressed by Valentine and had a discussion with him, attempting to get him to convert to Roman paganism in order to save his life. Valentine refused and tried to convert Claudius to Christianity instead. Because of this, he was executed. Before his execution, he is reported to have performed a miracle by healing Julia, the blind daughter of his jailer Asterius. The jailer’s daughter and his forty-four member household (family members and servants) came to believe in Jesus and were baptized. In addition to this, Saint Valentine is said to have performed clandestine Christian weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry. The Roman Emperor Claudius II supposedly forbade this in order to grow his army, believing that married men did not make for good soldiers. According to legend, in order to “remind them of God’s love and to encourage them to remain faithful Christians,” Saint Valentine is said to have cut hearts from parchment, giving them to the soldiers and persecuted Christians, a possible origin of the widespread use of hearts on Saint Valentine’s Day. A later Passio repeated the legend, adding that Pope Julius I built a church over his sepulcre (it’s a confusion with a 4th century tribune called Valentino who donated land to build a church at a time when Julius was a Pope). The legend was picked up as fact by later martyrologies, starting by Bede’s martyrology in the 8th century. It was repeated in the 13th century, in Legenda Aurea. The book expounded briefly the Early Medieval acta of several Saint Valentines, and this legend was assigned to the Valentine under 14 February.
There is an additional embellishment to The Golden Legend, which according to Henry Ansgar Kelly, was added centuries later, and widely repeated. On the evening before Valentine was to be executed, he would have written the first “valentine” card himself, addressed to the daughter of his jailer Asterius, who was no longer blind, signing as “Your Valentine.” This expression “From your Valentine” is still used to this day. This legend has been published by both American Greetings and The History Channel. John Foxe, an English historian, as well as the Order of Carmelites, state that Saint Valentine was buried in the Church of Praxedes in Rome, located near the cemetery of St Hippolytus. This order says that according to legend, “Julia herself planted a pink-blossomed almond tree near his grave. Today, the almond tree remains a symbol of abiding love and friendship.”
Attested traditions
Main article: Lupercalia
There is no evidence of any link between Saint Valentine’s Day and the rites of the ancient Roman festival, despite many claims by many authors. The celebration of Saint Valentine did not have any romantic connotations until Chaucer’s poetry about “Valentines” in the 14th century.
Popular modern sources claim links to unspecified Greco-Roman February holidays alleged to be devoted to fertility and love to St. Valentine’s Day, but prior to Chaucer in the 14th century, there were no links between the Saints named Valentinus and romantic love. Earlier links as described above were focused on sacrifice rather than romantic love. In the ancient Athenian calendar the period between mid-January and mid-February was the month of Gamelion, dedicated to the sacred marriage of Zeus and Hera.
In Ancient Rome, Lupercalia, observed February 13–15, was an archaic rite connected to fertility. Lupercalia was a festival local to the city of Rome. The more general Festival of Juno Februa, meaning “Juno the purifier “or “the chaste Juno”, was celebrated on February 13–14. Pope Gelasius I (492–496) abolished Lupercalia.
Alban Butler in his Lifes of the Principal Saints (1756–1759) claimed without proof that men and women in Lupercalia drew names from a jar to make couples, and that modern Valentine’s letters originated from this custom. In reality, this practice originated in the Middle Ages, with no link to Lupercalia, with men drawing the names of girls at random to couple with them. This custom was combated by priests, for example by Frances de Sales around 1600, apparently by replacing it with a religious custom of girls drawing the names of apostles from the altar. However, this religious custom is recorded as soon as the 13th century in the life of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, so it could have a different origin.

Chaucer’s love birds
The first recorded association of Valentine’s Day with romantic love is in Parlement of Foules (1382) by Geoffrey Chaucer. Chaucer wrote:
For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.
[“For this was on Saint Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.”]
This poem was written to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia. A treaty providing for a marriage was signed on May 2, 1381. (When they were married eight months later, they were each only 15 years old).
Readers have uncritically assumed that Chaucer was referring to February 14 as Valentine’s Day; however, mid-February is an unlikely time for birds to be mating in England. Henry Ansgar Kelly has pointed out that Chaucer could be referring to May 3, the celebration in the liturgical calendar of Valentine of Genoa, an early bishop of Genoa who died around AD 307. Jack B. Oruch says that date for the start of Spring has changed since Chaucer’s time due to precession of equinoxes and the introduction of the Gregorian calendar in 1582. The weather would correspond to the modern 23 February, a time when some birds have started mating and nesting in England.
Chaucer’s Parliament of Foules is set in a fictional context of an old tradition, but in fact there was no such tradition before Chaucer. The speculative explanation of sentimental customs, posing as historical fact, had their origins among 18th-century antiquaries, notably Alban Butler, the author of Butler’s Lives of Saints, and have been perpetuated even by respectable modern scholars. Most notably, “the idea that Valentine’s Day customs perpetuated those of the Roman Lupercalia has been accepted uncritically and repeated, in various forms, up to the present”.
There were other three authors who made poems about birds mating in Saint Valentine’s Day around the same years: Otton de Grandson from Savoy, John Gower from England, and a knight called Pardo from Valencia. Chaucer most probably predated all of them, but, due to the difficulty of dating medieval works, we can’t know for sure who of the four had the idea first and influenced the others.
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Welcome to Naija Music Movement


In the West

While sending cards, flowers, chocolates and other gifts is traditional in the UK, Valentine’s Day has various regional customs. In Norfolk, a character called ‘Jack’ Valentine knocks on the rear door of houses leaving sweets and presents for children. Although he was leaving treats, many children were scared of this mystical person. In Wales, many people celebrate Dydd Santes Dwynwen (St Dwynwen’s Day) on January 25 instead of (or as well as) Valentine’s Day. The day commemorates St Dwynwen, the patron saint of Welsh lovers. In France, a traditionally Catholic country, Valentine’s Day is known simply as “Saint Valentin”, and is celebrated in much the same way as other western countries. In Spain Valentine’s Day is known as “San Valentín” and is celebrated the same way as in the UK, although in Catalonia it is largely superseded by similar festivities of rose and/or book giving on La Diada de Sant Jordi (Saint George’s Day). In Portugal it is more commonly referred to as “Dia dos Namorados” (Lover’s Day / Day of those that are in love with each other).
In Denmark and Norway, although February 14 is known as Valentinsdag, it is not celebrated to a large extent, but is largely imported from American culture, and some people take time to eat a romantic dinner with their partner, to send a card to a secret love or give a red rose to their loved one. The cut-flower industry in particular is still working on promoting the holiday. In Sweden it is called Alla hjärtans dag (“All Hearts’ Day”) and was launched in the 1960s by the flower industry’s commercial interests, and due to the influence of American culture. It is not an official holiday, but its celebration is recognized and sales of cosmetics and flowers for this holiday are only exceeded by those for Mother’s Day.
In Finland Valentine’s Day is called Ystävänpäivä which translates into “Friend’s Day”. As the name indicates, this day is more about remembering all your friends, not only your loved ones. In Estonia Valentine’s Day is called Sõbrapäev, which has the same meaning.
In Slovenia, St Valentine or Zdravko was one of the saints of spring, the saint of good health and the patron of beekeepers and pilgrims. A proverb says that “St Valentine brings the keys of roots”. Plants and flowers start to grow on this day. It has been celebrated as the day when the first work in the vineyards and in the fields commences. It is also said that birds propose to each other or marry on that day. Another proverb says “Valentin – prvi spomladin” (“Valentine — the first spring saint”), as in some places (especially White Carniola), Saint Valentine marks the beginning of spring. Valentine’s Day has only recently been celebrated as the day of love. The day of love was traditionally March 12, the Saint Gregory’s day, or February 22, Saint Vincent’s Day. The patron of love was Saint Anthony, whose day has been celebrated on 13 June.
In Romania, the traditional holiday for lovers is Dragobete, which is celebrated on February 24. It is named after a character from Romanian folklore who was supposed to be the son of Baba Dochia. Part of his name is the word drag (“dear”), which can also be found in the word dragoste (“love”). In recent years, Romania has also started celebrating Valentine’s Day, despite already having Dragobete as a traditional holiday. This has drawn backlash from several groups, institutions and nationalist organizations like Noua Dreaptǎ, who condemn Valentine’s Day for being superficial, commercialist and imported Western kitsch.
Valentine’s Day is called Ημέρα του Αγίου Βαλεντίνου in Greece and Cyprus, which translates into “St Valentines day”. In the Orthodox church there is another Saint to protect people who are in love, but for Greeks Valentine’s Day is more popular.
Latin America

In some Latin American countries Valentine’s Day is known as “Día del Amor y la Amistad” (Day of Love and Friendship). For example Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Mexico, and Puerto Rico, as well as others. It is also common to see people perform “acts of appreciation” for their friends.
In Guatemala it is known as the “Día del Cariño” (Affection Day).
In Brazil, the Dia dos Namorados (lit. “Lovers’ Day”, or “Boyfriends’/Girlfriends’ Day”) is celebrated on June 12, probably because it is the day before Saint Anthony’s day, known there as the marriage saint, when traditionally many single women perform popular rituals, called simpatias, in order to find a good husband or boyfriend. Couples exchange gifts, chocolates, cards and flower bouquets. The February 14’s Valentine’s Day is not celebrated at all because it usually falls too little before or after the Brazilian Carnival — that can fall anywhere from early February to early March and lasts almost a week. Because of the absence of Valentine’s Day and the celebrations of the Carnivals, Brazil is a popular tourist spot during February for Western singles to get away from the holiday.
In Venezuela, in 2009, President Hugo Chávez said in a meeting to his supporters for the upcoming referendum vote on February 15, that “since on the 14th, there will be no time of doing nothing, nothing or next to nothing … maybe a little kiss or something very superficial”, he recommended people to celebrate a week of love after the referendum vote
In most of Latin America the Día del amor y la amistad and the Amigo secreto (“Secret friend”) are quite popular and usually celebrated together on the 14 of February (one exception is Colombia, where it is celebrated every third Saturday of September). The latter consists of randomly assigning to each participant a recipient who is to be given an anonymous gift (similar to the Christmas tradition of Secret Santa).

East Asia
Due to a concentrated marketing effort, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in some Asian countries with Singaporeans, Chinese and South Koreans spending the most money on Valentine’s gifts.
In South Korea, similar to Japan, women give chocolate to men on February 14, and men give non-chocolate candy to women on March 14 (White Day). On April 14 (Black Day), those who did not receive anything on 14 February or March go to a Korean restaurant to eat black noodles (자장면 jajangmyeon) and “mourn” their single life. Koreans also celebrate Pepero Day on November 11, when young couples give each other Pepero cookies. The date ’11/11′ is intended to resemble the long shape of the cookie. The 14th of every month marks a love-related day in Korea, although most of them are obscure. From January to December: Candle Day, Valentine’s Day, White Day, Black Day, Rose Day, Kiss Day, Silver Day, Green Day, Music Day, Wine Day, Movie Day, and Hug Day. Korean women give a much higher amount of chocolate than Japanese women.
In China, the common situation is the man gives chocolate, flowers or both to the woman that he loves. In Chinese, Valentine’s Day is called (simplified Chinese: 情人节; traditional Chinese: 情人節; pinyin: qíng rén jié). The so-called “Chinese Valentine’s Day” is the Qixi Festival, celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar. It commemorates a day on which a legendary cowherder and weaving maid are allowed to be together. Valentine’s Day on February 14 is not celebrated because it is often too close to Chinese New Year, which usually falls on a February or January.
In Taiwan the situation is the reverse of Japan’s. Men give gifts to women on Valentine’s Day, and women return them on White Day.
In the Philippines, Valentine’s Day is called “Araw ng mga Puso” or “Hearts Day”. It is usually marked by a steep increase in the prices of flowers.
In Japan, Morozoff Ltd. introduced the holiday for the first time in 1936, when it ran an advertisement aimed at foreigners. Later in 1953 it began promoting the giving of heart-shaped chocolates; other Japanese confectionery companies followed suit thereafter. In 1958 the Isetan department store ran a “Valentine sale”. Further campaigns during the 1960s popularized the custom.
The custom that only women give chocolates to men appears to have originated from the translation error of a chocolate-company executive during the initial campaigns. In particular, office ladies give chocolate to their co-workers. Unlike western countries, gifts such as greeting cards, candies, flowers, or dinner dates are uncommon, and most of the activity about the gifts is about giving the right amount of chocolate to each person. Japanese chocolate companies make half their annual sales during this time of the year.
Many women feel obliged to give chocolates to all male co-workers, except when the day falls on a Sunday, a holiday. This is known as giri-choko (義理チョコ), from giri (“obligation”) and choko, (“chocolate”), with unpopular co-workers receiving only “ultra-obligatory” chō-giri choko cheap chocolate. This contrasts with honmei-choko (本命チョコ, favorite chocolate), chocolate given to a loved one. Friends, especially girls, may exchange chocolate referred to as tomo-choko (友チョコ); from tomo meaning “friend”.
In the 1980s the Japanese National Confectionery Industry Association launched a successful campaign to make March 14 a “reply day”, where men are expected to return the favour to those who gave them chocolates on Valentine’s Day, calling it White Day for the color of the chocolates being offered. A previous failed attempt to popularize this celebration had been done by a marshmallow manufacturer who wanted men to return marshmallows to women.
Men are expected to return gifts that are at least two or three times more valuable than the gifts received in Valentine’s Day. Not returning the gift is perceived as the man placing himself in a position of superiority, even if excuses are given. Returning a present of equal value is considered as a way to say that you are cutting the relationship. Originally only chocolate was given, but now the gifts of jewelry, accessories, clothing and lingerie are usual. According to the official website of White Day, the color white was chosen because it’s the color of purity, evoking “pure, sweet teen love”, and because it’s also the color of sugar. The initial name was “Ai ni Kotaeru White Day” (Answer Love on White Day).
In Japan, the romantic “date night” associated to Valentine’s Day is celebrated on Christmas Eve.
In a 2006 survey of people between 10 and 49 years of age in Japan, Oricon Style found the 1986 Sayuri Kokushō single, Valentine Kiss, to be the most popular Valentine’s Day song, even though it sold only 317,000 copies. The singles it beat in the ranking were number one selling Love Love Love from Dreams Come True (2,488,630 copies) and Valentine’s Radio from Yumi Matsutoya (1,606,780 copies). The final song in the top five was My Funny Valentine by Miles Davis.
Similar Asian traditions
In Chinese culture, there is an older observance related to lovers, called “The Night of Sevens” (Chinese: 七夕; pinyin: Qi Xi). According to the legend, the Cowherd star and the Weaver Maid star are normally separated by the Milky Way (silvery river) but are allowed to meet by crossing it on the 7th day of the 7th month of the Chinese calendar.
In Japan, a slightly different version of 七夕 called Tanabata has been celebrated for centuries, on July 7 (Gregorian calendar). It has been considered by Westerners as similar to St. Valentine’s Day, but it’s not related to it, and its origins are completely different.
In India, in the antiquity, there was a tradition of adoring Kamadeva, the lord of love; exemplificated by the erotic carvings in the Khajuraho Group of Monuments and by the writing of the Kamasutra treaty of lovemaking. This tradition was lost around the Middle Ages, when Kamadeva was no longer celebrated, and public displays of sexual affections became frowned upon. The festival of Rasa (Rasa Utsav), a celebration of Radha and Krishna’s legendary love affair; once popular in the Eastern part of the subcontinent (Bengal and Odisha) is also noteworthy in this context; though at present times this is observed by a small number of people. In the state of West Bengal, Saraswati Puja, a festival observed in early spring where Saraswati, the goddess of learning is worshiped; has often been seen as a Bengali version of Valentine’s day; especially among the urban middle class youth. Around 1992, Valentine’s Day celebrations started catching up in India, with special TV and radio programs, and even love letter competitions. The economic liberalization also helped the Valentine card industry.

In modern times, Hindu and Islamic traditionalists consider the holiday to be cultural contamination from the West, result of the globalization in India. Shiv Sena and the Sangh Parivar have asked their followers to shun the holiday and the “public admission of love” because of them being “alien to Indian culture”.

Although these protests are organized by political elites, the protesters themselves are middle-class Hindu men who fear that the globalization will destroy the traditions in their society: arranged marriages, Hindu joint families, full-time mothers, etc.
Despite these obstacles, Valentine’s Day is becoming increasingly popular in India.
However, Valentine’s Day has been strongly criticized from a postcolonial perspective by intellectuals from the Indian left. The holiday is regarded as a front for Western imperialism, neocolonialism, and the exploitation of working classes through commercialism by multinational corporations. Studies have shown that Valentine’s Day promotes and exacerbates income inequality in India, and aids in the creation of a pseudo-westernized middle class. As a result, the working classes and rural poor become more disconnected socially, politically, and geographically from the hegemonic capitalist power structure. They also criticize mainstream media attacks on Indians opposed to Valentine’s Day as a form of demonization that is designed and derived to further the Valentine’s Day agenda. Right wing Hindu nationalists are also hostile. In February 2012 Subash Chouhan of the Bajrang Dal warned couples that “They cannot kiss or hug in public places. Our activists will beat them up”. He said “We are not against love, but we criticize vulgar exhibition of love at public places”.
Guru Asaram Bapu says the modern holiday corrupts young people and breaks the nation’s backbone. He says that young people look at each other with lust before they are married. He says that the dissipation of their sexual energy weakens their eyesight, intellect and their future. He calls for celebrating instead a “Love Day”, and sublimated those feelings into honouring our parents. Bapu states that “Those who celebrate Valentine’s Day’ are only degrading Saint Valentine, as by sending the valentine’s card they try to develop a licentious relationship with their beloveds even before marriage. Had this been agreeable to Valentine, he would not have arranged for the marriages.”
Middle East
In Iran, the Sepandarmazgan, or Esfandegan, is a festival where people express love towards their mothers and wives, and also a celebration of earth in ancient Persian culture. It has nothing in common with the Saint Valentine celebration, except for a superficial similarity in giving affection and gifts to loved ones, and its origins and motivations are completely unrelated. It has been progressively forgotten in favor of the Western celebration of Valentine’s Day. The Association of Iran’s Cultural and Natural Phenomena has been trying since 2006 to make Sepandarmazgan a national holiday on 17 February, in order to replace the Western holiday.
In Israel, the Jewish tradition of Tu B’Av has been revived and transformed into the Jewish equivalent of Valentine’s Day. It’s celebrated in 15th day of the month of Av (usually late August). In ancient times girls would wear white dresses and dance in the vineyards, where the boys would be waiting for them (Mishna Taanith end of Chapter 4). Today, this is celebrated as a second holiday of love by secular people (besides Saint Valentine’s Day), and shares many of the customs associated with Saint Valentine’s Day in western societies. In modern Israeli culture this is a popular day to pronounce love, propose marriage and give gifts like cards or flowers.
Conflict with Islamic countries and political parties
Saudi Arabia
In Saudi Arabia, in 2002 and 2011, religious police banned the sale of all Valentine’s Day items, telling shop workers to remove any red items, as the day is considered a Christian holiday. In 2008 this ban created a black market of roses and wrapping paper.
The concept of Valentine’s Day was introduced in Pakistan during the late 1990s with special TV and radio programs. The Jamaat-e-Islami political party has called for the banning of Valentine’s Day celebration. Despite this, the celebration is becoming popular among urban youth and the florists expect to sell great amount of flowers, especially red roses. Same is the case with card publishers. However, public at large still consider Valentine’s Day as opposed to Pakistani culture and Islamic teachings.
In the first part of the 21st century, the celebration of Valentine’s Day in Iran has been harshly criticized by Islamic Teachers who see the celebrations as opposed to Islamic culture. In 2011, the Iranian printing works owners’ union issued a directive banning the printing and distribution of any goods promoting the holiday, including cards, gifts and teddy bears. “Printing and producing any goods related to this day including posters, boxes and cards emblazoned with hearts or half-hearts, red roses and any activities promoting this day are banned… Outlets that violate this will be legally dealt with”, the union warned.
Islamic officials in Malaysia warned Muslims against celebrating Valentine’s Day, linking it with vice activities. Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said the celebration of romantic love was “not suitable” for Muslims. Wan Mohamad Sheikh Abdul Aziz, head of the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim), which oversees the country’s Islamic policies said a fatwa (ruling) issued by the country’s top clerics in 2005 noted the day ‘is associated with elements of Christianity,’ and ‘we just cannot get involved with other religion’s worshipping rituals.’ Jakim officials planned to carry out a nationwide campaign called “Awas Jerat Valentine’s Day” (“Mind the Valentine’s Day Trap”), aimed at preventing Muslims from celebrating the day on 14 February 2011. Activities include conducting raids in hotels to stop young couples from having unlawful sex and distributing leaflets to Muslim university students warning them against the day.
On Valentine’s Day 2011, Malaysian religious authorities arrested more than 100 Muslim couples concerning the celebration ban. Some of them would be charged in the Shariah Court for defying the department’s ban against the celebration of Valentine’s Day.

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