Come February and suddenly there is love, romance and excitement in the air. Young, not so young and old – there is sparkle in everyone’s eyes and smile on the face. Did you ever think of giving the credit to Saint Valentine? Perhaps you would like to know more about Saint Valentine and Valentine’s Day.
So here is all about Valentine’s Day including the facts, origin and its present day form of celebration.
All about Valentines Day
Valentine’s Day is celebrated every year on February 14 by millions of people – teenagers, young adults, not so young, old and very old of both the sexes throughout the world.
Perhaps the history of Valentine’s Day and why it is celebrated will ever remain shrouded in mystery. What we do know is that it is linked to both Christian and ancient Roman rites.
The Legend of St. Valentine
There are two stories related to the celebration of Valentine’s Day. The first one links it to early Christian Saint Valentine. It is said that he performed weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to be married. As a result he was imprisoned and executed later. As per the legend before his execution he wrote her a letter “from your Valentine” as a farewell.
The second legend links it to High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love thrived. During the 18th century in England, it flourished into an occasion when lovers expressed their love for each other.
Since then this day is celebrated by the lovers who like to express their love for each other by sending Valentine’s cards, presenting flowers, confectionery etc.
Valentine’s Day: A Day of Romance
Although the origin of Valentine’s Day can be traced in annals of old history, it is the second half of the twentieth century, when the practice of exchanging cards and giving gifts picked up in America. Usually it is from a man to a woman. Typically such gifts have been roses and chocolates packed in a red satin, heart-shaped box. Besides other symbols and articles popularly associated with this occasion are figures of doves, the winged Cupid and the greetings cards.
To increase the sale of diamond’s during 80s, the diamond industry promoted Valentine’s Day as an occasion for gifting jewelry.
What connection Cupid has with it?
Venus is known to be the goddess of love and beauty. In Roman mythology Cupid is the son of Venus. Cupid would make people to fall in love by shooting them with his magical arrows.
And Cupid himself fell deeply in love with a human named Psyche and married her. According to the legend, Venus did not like this and the reason being that Venus was jealous of Psyche’s beauty. Thus she forbade her daughter-in-law to look at Cupid. But couldn’t Psyche could not hold herself and sneaked a peek at her handsome husband.
Venus gave her the punishment of performing three hard tasks and the third one caused Psyche’s death. But Cupid brought Psyche back to life and the gods, moved by their love, granted Pysche immortality.
Today Cupid represents the heart and Psyche the struggles of love.
Typical Valentine’s Day Gifts: Greeting Cards, Flowers and Chocolates
Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards. This tradition continues to be popular till date with the U.S. Greeting Card Association giving an estimated figure of 190 million greeting cards being sent each year. The recipients of these cards are husband or wife, friends, family members, teachers besides being exchanged in the schools by students.
Now the digital revolution has created the trends of e-cards, love coupons or printable greeting cards thanks to the ever growing popularity of
Hollywood gets inspired
So popular is this term now that Hollywood produced in 2010 a movie called Valentine’s Day. It is a Comedy and Romance genre’ story where the Intertwining couples and singles in Los Angeles break-up and make-up based on the pressures and expectations of Valentine’s Day. The cast of the movie included famous actors like Julia Roberts, Jamie Foxx, Anne Hathaway and it is directed Garry Marshall.
The Fun and Romance Factors
Over the period, this day has come to be associated with a common greeting of “Happy Valentine’s Day.” Also as a joke, Valentines Day is also referred to as “Singles Awareness Day.”
In schools, children decorate classrooms, exchange cards, and eat sweets. The greeting cards of these students often mention what they appreciate about each other.
Some More fun facts about Valentines Day
- Besides English speaking countries like U.S., Canada, England, this is celebrated now in Mexico, France, Germany, Denmark, Italy, Greece, Finland, Australia, New Zealand, India, Hong Kong, Thailand and Singapore.
- In the early 19th century, the medical doctors commonly advised their heartbroken patients to eat chocolate, claiming it would sooth their pain. Perhaps that is the reason that to this day, many women find comfort in a box of chocolates when dealing with heartbreak.
- A love knot is a symbol of undying love, as its twisting loops have no beginning and no end. In the past, they were made of ribbon or drawn on paper to prove one’s eternal love.
- Every Valentine’s Day, the Italian city of Verona, where Shakespeare’s lovers Romeo and Juliet lived, receives about 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet.
- About 3 percent of pet owners will give Valentine’s Day gifts to their pets.
- 220,000 is the average number of wedding proposals on Valentine’s Day each year.
Some Romantic ideas to express your love on Valentine’s day
- Surprise your beloved with special something s/he has been coveting for some time.
- Plan and Take a long drive together – this will provide you with the best time for being together and talking one-on-one.
- Grab him when he is least expecting it, smile, hug and a kiss him passionately.
- Make a special breakfast for him or her.
- Make a special dinner booking in a restaurant of his / her choice.
- Put a sweet handwritten note in his briefcase or bag which s/he will find it when at work.
- Gift special flowers or cookies or chocolates.
- Book a well know spa for a massage and beauty treatment together.
- Scatter rose petals on the bed.
- Buy his favorite perfume or sunglasses or tie, and simply put it in the cabinet for him to discover later on his own.
- Frame a picture of the two of you.
- Do an activity that he loves, such as boat ride or jogging or golf or shopping that your beloved loves.
- Compose a poem in her or his praise and read it out with all the style and love in your body language.
- Propose in a romantic manner and in style.
The modern times relevance of Valentines day
It is no more an occasion restricted only to romantic love.
There are many more aspects and angles to it. Firstly, it evokes a strong association to expectation and enjoyment of the gifts of chocolates, flowers, and other items which are expressions of love, sweetness, friendship and appreciation.
Secondly, it is now a heavily commercially driven where the shops, malls and internet is full of goodies that one can choose to gift to his or her valentine. It is a multi-million dollar (or perhaps multi-billion dollar) business keeping everyone busy – from the factories down to the retailers.
Whether married or in a stable, loving relationships, this day offers a magnificent opportunity to express or reaffirm the love between the couples.
Thirdly, this day triggers not so good feelings for singles or to those have recently lost their partner because of separation or divorce or death. Feelings of overwhelming loneliness and pain of broken heart are not uncommon on this day.
So why not add another tradition on this day. For such persons who are emotionally very uncomfortable on this day, it might be helpful if the friends or family members spend time with them, sustaining their faith in the power and beauty of positive, loving relationships.
So initiate a new tradition, by invite your single friends over for dinner, or take flowers to their house.
Fourthly, it has become more of a ritual where one mechanically gives a gift or says “Happy Valentine’s Day”.
Why not do something about it? Let us think of planning on how you want to genuinely express your feelings to that someone so special and invaluable in your life. Think how you can chalk out the schedule of this special day that actually makes you and other important people in life feel good. Fill the day with all the warmth in your actions and expressions that it becomes a memorable day for all. Allow yourself to be surrounded with people who have brought care, comfort and love in your life.
For many it is the day to be celebrated with Flowers, Chocolates and Greeting Cards but for some it is your time, care and presence which is more valuable. This Valentine’s Day, offer yourself to all of the loved ones in your life, and make the effort to show that how much you love and care for them!
Valentine’s Day offers us a unique opportunity to undertake a new perspective on how we choose to celebrate love.
So why not be a bit different this Valentine’s Day!
Do share these points about Valentine’s Day with a friend.
In 2016, Valentine’s Day is on Sunday, the 14th of February.
Happy Valentine’s Day!