As I suppose everybody knows, on 14th February, we celebrate Saint Valentine’s Day. This a day in which love is the main character and lovely scenes can be witnessed all around the world.
Origin of this date
Even though the commercial fame and its use for companies to sell their products, the origin of this day is remote. It originated as a Christian feast day honouring one o early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine. Through later folk traditions, this day has become a significant cultural, religious, and commercial celebration of romance and love in many regions of the world. This saint rebelled against the power of that moment and suffered the consequences for that.
In the III century Rome, emperor Claudius decided to forbid marriage between young couples. Rome was started to have problems with barbarian tribes and consider that single men were better soldiers. Mostly, because they don’t have any family to care about, sentimental problems or other thoughts rather than the fight. Moreover, Christianism was still forbidden in Roman empire at that time. Saint Valentine was a priest that considered all of this as a big mistake. He decided to not follow the rule and celebrate secret weddings between young people. Once emperor Claudius knew about this act of rebellion, he sentenced Valentine to death on a 14th February, year 270 AD.
More facts about this day
There are plenty of legends about Saint Valentine. One of them assures that once he was in the dungeons waiting for his fatal destiny, he fell in love with a young blind girl who was also in the dungeons, and cured her from her blindness.
It wasn’t until the Middle Ages, though, that the holiday became associated with love and romance. This tradition first started from the common belief in France and England that birds started their mating season on February 14.
The first ever St. Valentine’s Day that it is register dates from year 494. It was an official day in Catholic Church until II Vatican council, when it was eliminated in the liturgical calendar.
Since 20th Century, this date has become a good business to sell products by shopping malls, making it a capitalist “holiday”. One fact and example for this, it is that American businesswoman Esther Howland started selling Valentine’s cards in her library, and they spread and became so popular, becoming a tradition nowadays.
If you want to learn more of these interesting facts you can check the following link.
Few examples of Valentine’s Day in other countries
Valentine’s day is celebrated around the world in different ways and with different meanings. Still, not in all countries, like for example Iran, Pakistan, or Saudi Arabia (for different reasons). It is also true that this celebration of love takes part in most parts of the world today, but in other countries for different reasons, it is celebrated in other dates and with different names. Examples are Egypt (4th November), Brazil (12th June, in St. Anthony Padua. February is exclusively for Carnival), Bolivia (21st September, due to the 14th February is the anniversary of Pacific’s war) or Argentina (1-7th July, it is the “week for being sweety”, in which you exchange sweets for kisses).
Some funny ways to celebrate this date take place in Norway and Denmark. They have the tradition of giving ‘Gaekkebrev’. These are short poems that anonymous men give to women (not directly). In the remittent, you write as many points as letters have your name. If the woman guesses the identity of the anonymous writer, she receives a chocolate egg. If not, she must give one to that person. Other example is Germany, in which they have to send to their beloves a pig that brings flowers (the pig doesn’t need to be a real one). In Japan, women bring chocolate to men, but not just to their couple, also to friends and workmates.
Also, even though we think of this date as something just for romantic love, it can be also a perfect chance to celebrate friendship. Examples of this are Finland (named this event as Sobrapäev) and Estonia (named this event as Ystävän Paiva). Love is not only a feeling between a couple, it has many different ways and categories. Like the love a mother has to her children. Love between good friends. Or maybe the most important, selflove.
How to celebrate this date
It is traditional between lovers to celebrate this day making plans together. As going to the cinema, enjoying an elegant dinner, do an small trip or experience. Also, it is traditional to make presents such as flowers, jewels, sweets etc.
If you don’t share its commercial meaning, you can try just a free but lovely plan, like watching movies at home or enjoying a walk. The importance here is love, not the money.
If you are not in a relationship, Valentine’s day is not a sad day for you. I recommend you celebrate it with friends and people you love. Show to them in different ways your affection. Spend few minutes to phone people you haven’t have contact in along. Write beautiful messages to friends you don’t meet in a while. Give your son/parent/whatever a hug and kiss without a reason when you enter home. It is a celebration of love in all its manifestations.
It is important to remember the importance of love and how grateful we are to experience this feeling. Sometimes with stressful daily life and bad news we listened, we forget about the basic things that makes us feel happy. Even if you are alone and you think you don’t have this feeling, let me tell you that I love you and I am so grateful to share these moments of the day with you.
With nothing else to say, I will meet with you again next month. Until that moment, lots of kisses and hugs to you, my friend.