Valentine`s Day History
Valentine`s around the corner. Stores are already flooded with chocolates, candy hearts and other love symbols.
More than 62% of the Americans celebrate Valentine`s Day offering greeting cards and flowers. Others, offering candy or other gifts that symbolize Love. Romantic dinners are also preferred by most of the couples.
But do we know the History behind Valentine`s Day?
Roman Festival of Lupercalia
Valentine`s Day has it`s roots in the pagan ancient Roman Festival called Lupercalia. This was a holiday celebrating fertility, each year on February 15. It was declared a Christian feast day, by Pope Gelasius I, around the year 495.
Shakespeare and Chaucer
As the years went on, the holiday grew as well. Chaucer and Shakespeare romanticized it in their work. It gained popularity fast throughout Britain and the rest of Europe. During the Middle Ages, handmade love cards were a must-have on Valentine`s Day.
With the mass producing of valentines cards in 1913, by Hallmark Cards of Kansas City, Valentine`s Day remained February`s Love celebration Day. The holiday remained associated with Love and Romance.
Not every country that celebrates Valentine`s Day turns to heart-shaped candies to declare love. Some exchange pressed flowers and wooden spoons, others hold a special holiday to celebrate Love.
During the Australian gold rush period, miners who were suddenly rich, were paying lots of money for Australian valentines. These were made of a satin cushion, perfumed and decorated with flowers and colored shells. Also, the bird of paradise was a very expensive and appreciated gift.
British poets associated the most romantic verses in their poetry, to Valentine`s Day. Sending cards and gifts of flowers or chocolate, is the standard procedure in Britain. Children sing special songs this day, receiving chocolate and candies as gifts.
Older versions of the greeting card came in the form of transparency. When held up to light, depicted the image of a lover handing a gift to his beloved. Another mark of Valentine`s Day in Danemark are white pressed flowers, called Snowdrops.
“Drawing for love” or loterie d`amour was a popular event in France for celebrating Valentine`s Day. Men and women would fill houses that faced one another, and then take turns calling out to one another and pairing off. Men who were not satisfied with their match could simply leave a woman and go to another. The women left unmatched gathered afterward for a bonfire.
During the bonfire, women burned pictures of the men who left them, and hurled swears and insults to them. The event became uncontrollable, so the French government banned the feast.
Brazilians celebrate Dia dos Namorados, or “Lover`s Day” on June 12th. In addition to the usual gifts as chocolate, flowers, cards, there are also music festivals and performances. In Brazil, people celebrate this day of love by exchanging gifts and sharing dinner with friends and relatives, too.
Like many other countries in the world, South Africa celebrates Valentine`s Days with festivals, flowers and other symbols of love. Women wear their hearts on their sleeves on February 14th. They pin the names of their love interest on their sleeves, just like in the ancient Roman tradition called Lupercalia, mentioned earlier.
Even if most of the traditions in Philippines are similar to celebrations in Western countries, there is one tradition that is at least interesting to know about. Thousands of couples share a wedding day on February 14th. Mass wedding ceremonies have gained popularity in the Philippines in recent years, leading hundreds of couples to gather in public areas. And all these, in the name of Love, to get married or renew their vows en masse.
These countries are just a few of those who are celebrating Valentine`s Day. Italy, South Korea, Wales, China, England, Austria, United States, Germany, Japan, Scotland, Spain, Taiwan are also celebrating Love and Romance, either if it`s under the name of Valentine`s Day or another Love related name.
To conclude, I strongly believe that Valentine`s Day should be celebrated like Brazilians do. On this special day, they share the love not only with their current or future partner, but with their dearest family and friends.