Significance of Valentine’s Day and Traditions around the World
We all know February is the month of love as Valentine’s week is celebrated around the world. Couples tend to spend their time together and exchange gifts and take vows to stay together. Well, it’s not like a traditional exchange of flowers, chocolate or cards everywhere, different countries tend to celebrate their love differently. But before that do you even know why the Valentine’s Day is celebrated or what is the significance behind this day?
Why Valentine’s Day is celebrated?
This day is named after a Catholic Priest, Saint Valentine who lived in Rome in the 3rd Century. There are a lot of stories about him which has turned into a legend. During the 3rd century, several Romans took up Christianity. Emperor Claudius II who was a pagan created law about what Christians could do and do not do. He also believed that the Roman soldiers need to be completely devoted to their country and hence passed a strict law that prevented them from marrying a woman from the Christian community. Saint Valentine helped many Roman soldiers to marry their love through Christian rituals and no one knows about it.
After some time, Emperor Claudius II found that Valentine was getting Roman soldiers married; he was jailed stating it to a crime. When Valentine was imprisoned, he cared for the other prisoners and the jailor’s daughter who was blind. According to the legends he cured the girl from blindness and before his execution he wrote a letter to her with a signature “From your Valentine”. On 14th February Saint Valentine was executed.
When was 14th February Declared as Valentine’s Day?
After 200 years of Saint Valentine’s death, 14th February was declared as the Valentine’s Day. This was the time when Rome completely took up Christianity and the Catholic Church was working hard stamp out the paganism that remained. At that time, pagan held a fertility ritual in February each year. The Pope proclaimed February 14th as St. Valentine’s Day after abolishing the fertility ritual. It was considered as a feast day in “Catholic Calendar of Saints”
But, this was not the time when St. Valentine was linked with romantic love. It was way after the proclamation that a well-known poet by name Chaucer, from the Middle Ages, linked it to love. This marked the beginning of the tradition, where couples express their admiration and love for one another, most of the times in secret.
The custom of expressing courtly love spread across Europe. It is said that there was a High Court of Love, which had female judges who would rule on the issues that were related to love on the 14th of February every year. Many historians also believed that such meetings were more like gatherings where people used to recite poetry and also played “games of flirtation”. As time passes, Valentine’s Day was celebrated all over the world as the day of love.
How different countries celebrate Valentine’s Day?
Argentina not only celebrates Valentine’s Day, they also set aside an entire week during July to celebrate “sweetness week” when kisses are exchanged for sweet treats. Originally set up as confectioners marketing campaign it was quickly embraced by this passionate nation.
February 14th Bulgaria celebrates St. Trison Zarezan Day, otherwise known as Winemakers Day. Couple, therefore, tend to celebrate their love for one another with a glass or two of some of the nation’s delicious wine.
- South Korea
The couples of South Korea celebrate the day of love not only in February but on the 14th of every month. These days include May’s Rose Day, June’s Kiss Day, and December’s Hug Day & April’s Black Day when singletons congregate to console themselves over Jajangmyeon – black noodles.
Celebrated on the 24th February, Dragobete, also known as ‘The day the birds are betrothed,’ is a mixture of Valentine’s Day & a celebration of spring. Girls and boys head out to the forest to pick flowers, whilst others wash their face in snow to bring health & happiness
There is a different type of celebration in Japan on Valentine’s Day as unlike most of the countries, men are the one who receives gifts. On 14th March, men have the choice to return the love and this day is known as White Day.
According to the Chinese calendar, they celebrate Valentine’s Day on the 7th day of the 7th month and it is known as Qixi. This day was originated from the story of two lovers who were forced to separate due to their case and social status. On this day couple hope for prosperity for each other.
For Valencians, the most romantic day of the year falls on 9th October, the Day of Saint Dianysius, the patron saint of love. To mark this festive occasion, many festivals and parades are held and traditionally men offer their partner a Mocadora – marzipan figurines – as a token of their love.
Instead of blindly following the trend, our generation needs to understand the true meaning of love. Things like giving a present, rose or a card will not mean anything if you don’t have genuine feelings for your partner. It’s time to develop emotional intimacy and celebrate your Valentine’s day with a lot of love.
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