The Celebration of Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day is a festival of romance that celebrates love and relationships. Celebrated on February 14th, it is often marked by giving gifts to and spending time with loved ones.
Valentine’s Day traditions include exchanging gifts, such as chocolates or roses, and a romantic night out on the town. School children often exchange Valentines Cards that may contain candy. Decorations typically feature Cupid and his arrows, doves, and hearts. Valentine’s Day also has religious associations, especially with the Anglican and Lutheran church. Religious celebrations may feature church services orfeasts.
Cupid became a symbol of Valentine’s Day due to the fact that he is the Roman god associated with the erotic, passionate type of love. His arrows cause his targets to fall in love.
There are many popular quotes that are used during Valentine’s Day. During this day many partners display their appreciation and love for one another by buying roses along with a card that typically has a love quote. Over many years some Valentine’s Day Quotes have gained popularity, while the classic Valentine’s Day love quotes have and will remain for many years. If you are looking for some popular Valentine’s Day quotes we have gathered a few.
- “If you have only one smile in you give it to the people you love.” -Quote by Maya Angelou
- “Love will find a way through paths where wolves fear to prey.” -Quote by Lord Byron
- “All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” -Quote by Charles M. Schulz
- “It is better to have loved and lost than never to have lost at all.” -Quote by Samuel Butler
- “Each time you love, love as deeply as if it were forever.” -Quote by Audre Lorde
Valentine’s Day – The history behind the holiday
Valentine’s Day actually started as a religious celebration. The holiday commemorated the line of Christian saints under the name Valentinus. The most significant St. Valentine was beheaded by the Roman emperor Claudius. The emperor had banned marriage in order to help his soldiers focus, but St. Valentine continued to marry couples in secret, as marriage was an important ritual for Christians. When St. Valentine refused to embrace paganism, Claudius had him executed around 269 AD.
It is said that while he was in prison, St. Valentine developed feelings for his jailer’s blind daughter. Legend says that his love for her was so great that he healed her sight. This is the origin of the phrase, “From your Valentine,” as St. Valentine signed a letter to her this way before his execution.
The holiday was further developed when Pope Gelasius attempted to rid of a pagan festival celebrated in February. Previously, young Roman men celebrated the spring festival of fertility by drawing a name of a female from the box, who would be their partner for the following year. The pope decided that this was not in accordance with Christian values, and changed the ritual to where the young Roman men would draw the name of a Saint, who they were supposed to aspire to be like for the rest of the year.
The pope replaced the pagan god associated with the festival, Lupercus, with St. Valentine. As the change in practice was not very popular with the young Romans, the men used St. Valentine’s romantic themes to write letters to young women, often invoking the name of St. Valentine to communicate affection.
These letters became the norm for Valentine’s Day sweethearts as the practice of courting developed during the Middle Ages. The practice of giving other gifts arrived in 18th century England. In contemporary times, these have almost completely been replaced by commercial greeting cards.
Geoffrey Chaucer was instrumental in developing the holiday of Valentine’s Day. His poem, Parlement of Foules, from 1382, commemorated the engagement of Richard II and Anne of Bohemia with romantic themes and mention of Valentine’s Day. Although it is believed that Chaucer was actually referring to a different St. Valentine than the one associated with Valentine’s Day, its interpretation led to the romantic tradition of celebrating the holiday. This also started a tradition of birds as a Valentine’s symbol and this this is recurrent throughout romantic poetry, including that by Edmund Spenser and John Donne.
Another source of the holiday’s development can be found in the “High Court of Love,” which was established in 1400 Paris by Isabel of Bavaria to make decisions regarding abuse, promises, contracts, and other issues surrounding females in romantic relationships. It is believed that women selected the court judges through a poetry reading competition. It is believed that the oldest remaining Valentine is from the Duke of Orleans, written to his wife while imprisoned in the Tower of London sometime during this same period.
Valentine’s Day in other countries
While most countries celebrate with traditional gift giving and time with Valentines, people all over the world celebrate in other ways as well. Valentine’s Day was first concentrated in Anglican countries, but now the holiday is celebrated all over the world.
- Jack Valentine is a folk character in Norfolk who leaves presents on doorsteps for children.
- In Slovenia, the holiday is also associated with agriculture, as it is considered the beginning of spring. This may have something to do with the connection between agriculture and love in terms of fertility, which were connected hundreds of years ago with the pagan festival. It is often the first day that workers head back to the fields, and many proposals occur in these fields.
- Latin America also refers to the day as “Día del Amor y la Amistad,” or the Day of Love and Friendship. It is distinct in the way that the holiday honors friends as well as lovers. However, the holiday in Latin America is typically celebrated in June due to the February 14th date’s proximity to Mardi Gras related celebrations. Finland also celebrates a similar “Friend’s Day” on Valentine’s Day.
- In other Scandinavian countries, the holiday is largely an American and commercial influence, mostly promoted by the flower and candy industry in order to stimulate sales.
- In China, men typically give sweethearts flowers and chocolates, but due to its proximity to the Lunar New Year, it is celebrated later in the year.
- South Korean tradition has women giving men chocolate on February 14 and men giving women a different type of candy on March 14. Black Day, on April 14th, has those who did not receive anything celebrate their loneliness by eating black noodles.
- Valentine’s Day in Japan centers solely on giving chocolate due to advertisement by chocolate companies. These companies make much of their profit during this time of year.
- In many Middle-Eastern Islamic countries, the celebration of Valentine’s Day or the sale of Valentine’s Day-related merchandise is banned, believing that the holiday encourages behavior that is not in line with Islamic beliefs. However, the practice of exchanging flowers is gaining popularity in Pakistan despite discouragement from political and religious leaders.