Today’s article is especially for my loving readers – Thoda Hatke. What does history say about Valentine Day? What are the facts about Valentine Day? Enjoy reading ‘Valentine Day: History, Facts, and How to Celebrate’, and celebrate it with love and pious intentions. Valentine Day is also called Saint Valentine Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, which is celebrated annually on February 14. Originating as a Western Christian feast day honoring one or two early saints named Valentinus. Valentine Day is recognized as a significant cultural, religious, and commercial celebration of romance and romantic love in many regions around the world, although it is not a public holiday in any country. However, Siddha Spirituality For Health brings out in-depth information for all of you.
Martyrdom stories associated with various Valentines connected to February 14 are presented in martyrologies. It included a written account of Saint Valentine of Rome imprisonment for performing weddings for soldiers. They were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians persecuted under the Roman Empire. According to legend, during his imprisonment, Saint Valentine restored sight to the blind daughter of his judge, and before his execution, he wrote her a letter signed “Your Valentine” as a farewell.
The day first became associated with romantic love within the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.
In 18th-century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards.
Valentine 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 cards. In Europe, Saint Valentine’s Keys are given to lovers “as a romantic symbol and an invitation to unlock the giver’s heart”, as well as to children, in order to ward off epilepsy.
Saint Valentine’s Day is an official feast day in the Anglican Communion and the Lutheran Church.
Valentine Day History
Numerous early Christian martyrs were named Valentine. The Valentines honored on February 14 are Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni. Valentine of Rome was a priest in Rome who was martyred in 269 and was added to the calendar of saints by Pope Galesius in 496 and was buried on the Via Flaminia.
February 14 is celebrated as St. Valentine Day in various Christian denominations. It has, for example, the rank of ‘commemoration’ in the calendar of saints in the Anglican Communion. 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 calendars.
Valentine Day Legends
Contemporary records of Saint Valentine were most probably destroyed during this Diocletianic Persecution in the early 4th century.
In the 5th or 6th century, a work called Passio Marii et Marthae published a story of martyrdom for Saint Valentine of Rome, perhaps by borrowing tortures that happened to other saints, as was usual in the literature of that period.
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-six member household came to believe in Jesus and were baptized.
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 is supposed to have written the first “valentine” card himself, addressed to the daughter of his jailer Asterius, who was no longer blind, signing as “Your Valentine.”
Saint Valentine was buried in the Church of Praxedes in Rome, located near the cemetery of Saint 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.”
According to legend, in order “to remind these men of their vows and God’s love, Saint Valentine is said to have cut hearts from parchment”, giving them to these soldiers and persecuted Christians, a possible origin of the widespread use of hearts on St. Valentine Day.
Valentine Day folk traditions
While the custom of sending cards, flowers, chocolates, and other gifts originated in the UK, Valentine Day still remains connected with various regional customs in England. In Norfolk, a character called ‘Jack’ Valentine knocks on the rear door of houses leaving sweets and presents for children.
A proverb says that “Saint 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.
Valentine Day has only recently been celebrated as the day of love.
Valentine Day connection with romantic love
There is no evidence of any link between St. Valentine Day and the rites of the ancient Roman festival Lupercalia, despite many claims by many authors.
In Ancient Rome, Lupercalia, observed February 13–15, was an archaic rite connected to fertility.
Also, the dates do not fit because, at the time of Gelasius I, the feast was only celebrated in Jerusalem, and it was on February 14 only because Jerusalem placed the Nativity of Jesus (Christmas) on January 6.
Jerusalem’s Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary on February 14 became the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple on February 2 as it was introduced to Rome and other places in the sixth century, after Gelasius I’s time.
Chaucer’s love birds
Readers have uncritically assumed that Chaucer was referring to February 14 as Valentine’s Day. Henry Ansgar Kelly has observed that Chaucer might have had in mind the feast day of St. Valentine of Genoa, an early bishop of Genoa who died around AD 307; it was probably celebrated on 3 May.
On the Julian calendar in use in Chaucer’s time, February 14 would have fallen on the date now called February 23, a time when some birds have started mating and nesting in England.
Valentine Day list
|07.02.2019||Rose day||Rose – Red, Pink, White, or Yellow||Surprise your loved one with a rose to signify the everlasting beauty of love in your relationship.|
|08.02.2019||Propose day||Planing perfect date||This day is perfect if you want to convey your feelings to a special one.|
|09.02.2019||Chocolate day||Chocolate||Perfect day to indulge in delectable chocolates.|
|10.02.2019||Teddy day||Teddy||Bring a smile on someone’s face by gifting him/her a cute teddy.|
|11.02.2019||Promise day||As desired||This is the most significant day of Valentine’s Week. Take your time and think about all the beautiful things you would like to promise to your Valentine.|
|12.02.2019||Hug day||As desired||The day is celebrated by embracing each other in a warm hug. Celebrate the bond of closeness.|
|13.02.2019||Kiss day||As desired||A kiss is a lovely trick designed by nature to stop speech when words become superfluous.|
|14.02.2019||Valentine day||As desired||It’s a special day, dedicated to love! Make this day memorable for your beloved. Create a schedule to enjoy each other’s company.|
Modern times Valentine Day
In 1797, a British publisher issued The Young Man’s Valentine Writer, which contained scores of suggested sentimental verses for the young lover unable to compose his own. Printers had already begun producing a limited number of cards with verses and sketches, called “mechanical valentines.”
Paper Valentines became so popular in England in the early 19th century that they were assembled in factories. Fancy Valentines were made with real lace and ribbons, with paper lace introduced in the mid-19th century.
A reduction in postal rates following Sir Rowland Hill’s postal reforms with the 1840 invention of the postage stamp (Penny Black) saw the number of Valentines posted increase, with 400,000 sent just one year after its invention, and ushered in the less personal but easier practice of mailing Valentines.
That made it possible for the first time to exchange cards anonymously. Production increased, “Cupid’s Manufactory” as Charles Dickens termed it, with over 3,000 women employed in manufacturing.
The Laura Seddon Greeting Card Collection at Manchester Metropolitan University gathers 450 Valentine Day cards dating from early nineteenth-century Britain, printed by the major publishers of the day.
In the United States, the first mass-produced Valentines of embossed paper lace were produced and sold shortly after 1847 by Esther Howland (1828–1904) of Worcester, Massachusetts.
Intrigued with the idea of making similar Valentines, Howland began her business by importing paper lace and floral decorations from England.
Since the 19th century, handwritten notes have given way to mass-produced greeting cards. In the UK, just under half of the population spend money on their Valentines, and around £1.9 billion was spent in 2015 on cards, flowers, chocolates and other gifts.
The rise of Internet popularity at the turn of the millennium is creating new traditions. Millions of people use, every year, digital means of creating and sending Valentine Day greeting messages such as e-cards, love coupons or printable greeting cards.
An estimated 15 million e-valentines were sent in 2010. Valentine Day is considered by some to be a Hallmark holiday due to its commercialization.
In the modern era, liturgically, the Anglican Church has a service for St. Valentine’s Day, which includes the optional rite of the renewal of marriage vows.
A celebration and status of Valentine Day worldwide
Valentine Day customs developed in early modern England and spread throughout the English-speaking world in the 19th century.
In the later 20th and early 21st centuries, these customs spread to other countries, but their effect has been more limited than those of Hallowe’en, or those aspects of Christmas.
Valentine Day is celebrated in many East Asian countries with Singaporeans, Chinese and South Koreans spending the most money on Valentine’s gifts.
A celebration of Valentine Day in the Americas
In most Latin American countries, for example, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Puerto Rico, Saint Valentine Day are known as Día de los Enamorados (day of lovers) or as Día del Amor y la Amistad (Day of Love and Friendship).
In Guatemala, it is known as the “Día del Cariño” (Affection Day). Some countries, in particular, the Dominican Republic and El Salvador, have a tradition called Amigo Secreto (Secret friend).
In Brazil, the Dia dos Namorados (lit. “Lovers’ Day”, or “Boyfriends’/Girlfriends’ Day”) is celebrated on June 12, probably because that 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 Valentine Day is not celebrated at all because it usually falls too little before or too little after the Brazilian Carnival — that can fall anywhere from early February to early March and lasts almost a week.
Colombia celebrates Día del Amor y la Amistad on the third Saturday in September instead. Amigo Secreto is also popular there.
In the United States, about 190 million Valentine Day cards are sent each year, not including the hundreds of millions of cards schoolchildren exchange.
Valentine Day is a major source of economic activity, with total expenditures in 2017 topping $18.2 billion in 2017 or over $136 per person. This is an increase from $108 per person in 2010.
A celebration of Valentine Day in Asia
In Chinese, Valentine Day is called lovers’ festival. The “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. In recent years, celebrating White Day has also become fashionable among some young people.
In India, in 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. This tradition was lost around the Middle Ages when Kamadeva was no longer celebrated, and public displays of sexual affection became frowned upon. This repression of public affections began to loosen in the 1990s.
Valentine Day celebrations did not catch on in India until around 1992. It was spread due to the programs in commercial TV channels, such as MTV, dedicated radio programs, and love letter competitions, in addition to an economic liberalization that allowed the explosion of the Valentine card industry.
Despite many obstacles, Valentine Day is becoming increasingly popular in India.
In the first part of the 21st century, the celebration of Valentine Day in Iran has been harshly criticized by Islamic teachers who see the celebrations as opposed to Islamic culture.
In Israel, the Jewish tradition of Tu B’Av has been revived and transformed into the Jewish equivalent of Valentine Day. It is celebrated on the 15th day of the month of Av (usually in late August).
Today, Tu B’Av is celebrated as a second holiday of love by secular people (along with Valentine Day), and it shares many of the customs associated with Saint Valentine Day in western societies. In modern Israeli culture, Tu B’Av is a popular day to proclaim love, propose marriage, and give gifts like cards or flowers.
In Japan, Morozoff Ltd. introduced the holiday for the first time in 1936. Later, in 1953, it began promoting the giving of heart-shaped chocolates; other Japanese confectionery companies followed suit thereafter.
The custom that only women give chocolates to men may 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 gifts-related activity is about giving the right amount of chocolate to each person.
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 favor to those who gave them chocolates on Valentine Day, calling it White Day for the color of the chocolates being offered.
In Japan, the romantic “date night” associated with Valentine Day is celebrated on Christmas Eve.
Saint Valentine is the patron saint for a large part of the Lebanese population. Couples take the opportunity of Valentine’s feast day to exchange sweet words and gifts as proof of love. Such gifts typically include boxes of chocolates, cupcakes, and red roses, which are considered the emblem of sacrifice and passion.
Lebanese people celebrate Valentine’s Day in a different way in every city. In Beirut, men take women out to dine and may buy them a gift. Valentine Day is celebrated with the whole family – it is more about family love than a couple’s love.
Islamic officials in West Malaysia warned Muslims against celebrating Valentine Day, linking it with vice activities. Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said the celebration of romantic love was “not suitable” for Muslims. 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.
In both the states of Sabah and Sarawak, the celebration of Valentine Day is usually common with flowers.
The concept of Valentine Day was introduced into Pakistan during the late 1990s with special TV and radio programs. The Jamaat-e-Islami political party has called for the banning of Valentine Day celebration. Despite this, the celebration is becoming popular among urban youth and the florists expect to sell a great number of flowers, especially red roses.
In 2017, the Islamabad High Court banned Valentine Day celebrations in public places in Pakistan.
In the Philippines, Valentine Day is called Araw ng mga Puso in much the same manner as in the West. It is usually marked by a steep increase in the price of flowers, particularly red roses. It is the most popular day for weddings, with some localities offering mass ceremonies for no charge.
In Saudi Arabia, in 2002 and 2008, religious police banned the sale of all Valentine Day items, telling shop workers to remove any red items, because the day is considered a Christian holiday. This ban has created a black market for roses and wrapping paper.
However, in 2017 and 2018, after a fatwa was widely circulated, the religious police did not prevent Muslims from celebrating the Valentine Day.
According to findings, Singaporeans are among the biggest spenders on Valentine Day, with 60% of Singaporeans indicating that they would spend between $100 and $500 during the season leading up to the holiday.
In South Korea, women give chocolate to men on February 14, and men give non-chocolate candy to women on March 14 (White Day).
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.
In Taiwan, traditional Qixi Festival, Valentine Day and White Day are all celebrated. However, the situation is the reverse of Japan’s. Men give gifts to women on Valentine Day, and women return them on White Day.
A celebration of Valentine Day in Europe
In the UK, just under half of the population spend money on their Valentines and around £1.3 billion is spent yearly on cards, flowers, chocolates, and other gifts, with an estimated 25 million cards being sent.
In Wales, some 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 Welsh patron saint of love. The Welsh name for Saint Valentine is ‘Sant Ffolant’.
On Saint Valentine’s Day in Ireland, many individuals who seek true love make a Christian pilgrimage to the Shrine of St. Valentine in Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, which is said to house relics of Saint Valentine of Rome; they pray at the shrine in hope of finding romance. There lies a book in which foreigners and locals have written their prayer requests for love.
Finland and Estonia
In Finland Valentine’s Day is called ystävänpäivä which translates into “Friend’s Day”. As the name indicates, this day is more about remembering friends, not significant others. In Estonia Valentine’s Day is called sõbrapäev, which has the same meaning.
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. The relics of Saint Valentin de Terni, the patron of the St Valentine Day, are in the Catholic church of Saint-Jean-Baptiste and Saint-Jean-l’Evangéliste located in the southern France town of Roquemaure, Gard. The celebrations of “Fete des Amoureux” takes place every two years on the Sunday closest to February 14. The village gets dressed in its 19th-century costume and put on the program with over 800 people.
St. Valentine Day, in Greek tradition was not associated with romantic love. In the Eastern Orthodox church, there is another Saint who protects people who are in love, Hyacinth of Caesarea (feast day July 3), but this was not widely known until the late 1990s In contemporary Greece, Valentine’s Day is generally celebrated as in the common Western tradition.
In Portugal, the holiday is known as “Dia dos Namorados” (Lover’s Day / Day of the Enamoured). As elsewhere, couples exchange gifts, but in some regions, women give a lenço de namorados (“lovers’ handkerchief”), which is usually embroidered with love motifs.
In recent years, Romania has also started celebrating Valentine Day. This has drawn a backlash from several groups, institutions, and nationalist organizations like Noua Dreapt, who condemn Valentine Day for being superficial, commercialist, and imported Western kitsch.
In order to counter the perceived denaturation of national culture, Dragobete, a spring festival celebrated in parts of Southern Romania, has been rekindled after having been ignored during the Communist years as the traditional Romanian holiday for lovers.
In Denmark and Norway, February 14 is known as Valentinsdag, and it is celebrated in much the same manner as in the United Kingdom. In Sweden, it is called Alla hjärtans dag (“All Hearts’ Day”) and is not widely celebrated. A 2016 survey revealed that less than 50% of men and women were planning to buy presents for their partners. The holiday has only been observed since the 1960s.
In Spain, Valentine’s Day is known as “San Valentín” and is celebrated in the same way as in the rest of the West.
Dear readers, at this stage, you have known and learned many unknown facts about ‘Valentine Day’ through “Valentine Day: History, Facts, and How to Celebrate”. The celebration of Valentine Day has taken a wrong turn in recent past, which is worrying. I appeal everyone to understand the purpose of the celebration of Valentine Day and maintain the dignity of Saint Valentine. The fact always remains a fact. My future article – “Arthritis in Knee & Free Siddha Energy Remedies” will be published on 09 Feb 2019 (Saturday) – a special demand from some of my valuable visitors. Don’t miss it.
So, I wish everyone a ‘Happy Valentine Day’, rather a whole ‘Valentine Week’!