Valentine’s Day: History, Meaning, Facts and Stories
|Happy Valentine's Day. Photo: finchannel.com|
What is Valentine's Day?
St Valentine's Day is an annual festival to celebrate romantic love, friendship, and admiration. Every year on 14 February people celebrate this day by sending messages of love and affection to partners, family, and friends. Couples send Valentine's Day cards and flowers and spend special time together to honor their love for each other.
Valentine’s Day is not a public holiday in many countries, including Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States. However, restaurants, hotels, and shopping centers may be busy around this time of the year.
The origin of Valentine's Day
The origins of Valentine's Day are not clear but many sources believe that it stems from the story of St Valentine, a Roman priest who was martyred on or around February 14 in the year 270 CE. How he became the patron saint of lovers remains a mystery but one theory is that the church used the day of St Valentine’s martyrdom to Christianize the old Roman Lupercalia, a pagan festival held around the middle of February, according to timeanddate.
The ancient ceremony included putting girls’ names in a box and letting the boys draw them out. Couples would then be paired off until the following year. The Christian church substituted saints’ names for girls’ names in hope that the participant would model his life after the saint whose name he drew. However, it was once again girls’ names that ended up in the box by the 16th century.
Eventually, the custom of sending anonymous cards or messages to those whom one admired became the accepted way of celebrating Valentine’s Day. There was an increase in interest in Valentine's Day, first in the United States and then in Canada, in the mid-19th century. Early versions of Valentine cards fashioned of satin and lace and ornamented with flowers, ribbons, and images of cupids or birds appeared in England in the 1880s.
The Meaning of Valentine’s Day
Over the years (and centuries), Valentine’s Day has been a religious celebration, an ancient ritual day, and a commercial holiday. All that change means the meaning of Valentine’s Day is truly whatever you want it to be: You can skip the celebrations completely, buy yourself some chocolate or flowers, or express your love and appreciation for the people in your life, whether they’re co-workers, romantic partners, friends, or family members. Some people love Valentine’s Day, and some people just love to hate it; Galentine’s Day (and Galentine’s Day gifts) are a relatively new way to celebrate, as women stock up on Valentine’s Day ideas for her and celebrate their love for their closest friends, reported Real Simple.
If you’re trying to figure out what to do on Valentine’s Day, just know that there are no rules: It’s a new era, and you can celebrate the day of love however you want, even if it’s just through self-love. A nice dinner out, going to the movies, cooking a fancy meal at home, or hosting Valentine’s Day party are also great ways to celebrate; whatever you do, if you have a romantic partner, just make sure you’re on the same page to avoid any disappointments or hurt feelings.
What do people do?
Many people around the world celebrate Valentine’s Day by showing appreciation for the people they love or adore. Some people take their loved ones for a romantic dinner at a restaurant while others may choose this day to propose or get married. Many people give greeting cards, chocolates, jewelry, or flowers, particularly roses, to their partners or admirers on Valentine’s Day.
It is also a time to appreciate friends in some social circles and cultures. For example, Valentine's Day in Finland refers to “Friend's day”, which is more about remembering all friends rather than focusing solely on romance. Valentine's Day in Guatemala is known as the Day of Love and Friendship). It is similar to Valentine’s Day customs and traditions in countries such as the United States but it is also a time for many to show their appreciation for their friends.
Valentine's Day Symbols
The practice of sending love messages developed into people sending special cards expressing their affection. These cards were beautiful creations handmade by the sender and individually designed to show how much they loved the recipient. Cards would usually contain sentimental verse, proclaiming the beauty of the receiver and how much they were loved.
Saint Valentine's Day cards were decorated with pictures of cupid, hearts, and flowers and trimmed with lace and ribbon. These images are still used today to symbolize love and are recognized all over the world, according to Roses Only.
Valentine's Day suggested ideas
To make an unforgettable Valentine's day for your beloved, you can do some suggestions of National Today below!
Make your own card
Creating your own personalized card is not only a thoughtful sentiment but also the way it was done in days of old. You can also add a heartfelt poem, whether you write this yourself, or borrow one from any of the iconic love writers such as Yeats, Browning, or Shakespeare.
Plan a proposal to remember
Take your love to the next stage and surprise them with a proposal. Create an experience for lasting memories you will share together, there is no better day than on the day of love! Depending on what is special for the both of you – plan a private meal or holiday, spell out a personal message in rose petals and candles, or visit the place you first met. Get your family and friends involved to share in this special moment and help plan your loved one’s dream proposal.
Create lasting memories
Extend your Valentine’s Day gift beyond February 14 by making a photo album of your time together. This can be time later spent going down memory lane, on a rainy day indoors, or anniversary. Include places you have explored together, nights out, and significant milestones in your relationship.
Who Is Cupid?
Cupid is often portrayed on Valentine’s Day cards as a naked cherub launching arrows of love at unsuspecting lovers. But the Roman God Cupid has his roots in Greek mythology as the Greek god of love, Eros. Accounts of his birth vary; some say he is the son of Nyx and Erebus; others, of Aphrodite and Ares; still others suggest he is the son of Iris and Zephyrus or even Aphrodite and Zeus (who would have been both his father and grandfather).
According to the Greek Archaic poets, Eros was a handsome immortal who played with the emotions of Gods and men, using golden arrows to incite love and leaden ones to sow aversion. It wasn’t until the Hellenistic period that he began to be portrayed as the mischievous, chubby child he’d become on Valentine’s Day cards.
Quotes of Valentine's Day
"I've always loved you, and when you love someone, you love the whole person, just as he or she is, and not as you would like them to be." - Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
"It was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together." - Sleepless in Seattle
"If you live to be a hundred, I want to live to be a hundred minus one day so that I never have to live without you" - A.A.Milne
"I love you. I knew it the minute I met you. I'm sorry it took so long for me to catch up. I just got stuck" - Silver Linings Playbook
"And when you smile, the whole world stops and stares for a while, 'cause you're amazing, just the way you are." - Bruno Mars (Just The Way You Are)
"You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams." - Dr. Seuss
"The single, most extraordinary thing I've ever done with my life is fall in love with you." - Beth Pearson (This is Us)
"You are pretty much the only thing that makes me want to get up in the morning." - Me Before You
"It's like, at that moment the whole universe existed just to bring us together." - Serendipity
"Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same." - Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights
"I will love you my whole life. You and no other." - Braveheart
"Take love, multiply it by infinity and take it to the depths of forever... and you still have only a glimpse of how I feel for you." - Meet Joe Black
"I hope you don't mind that I put down in words how wonderful life is while you're in the world." - Elton John (Your Song)
"My heart is, and always will be, yours." - Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility
When is Valentine's Day 2021?
Love is in the air on Valentine’s Day on February 14. Even though we believe that love should be spread and celebrated every day, we don’t always remember to do that. So on this dedicated day, go above and beyond in expressing your love for family, friends, and of course, your significant other.
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