On February 14, many countries around the world celebrate Valentine, but how did Valentine’s Day start.
It is believed that Valentine’s Day has existed for more than 16 centuries, but the holidays of love have been known from even earlier times – from the time of ancient pagan cultures. For example, the Romans in mid-February celebrated a festival of eroticism called Lupercalia, in honor of the goddess of Love Juno Februata.
The holiday also has a specific “culprit” – the Christian priest Valentine. This story dates back to around 269, when Emperor Claudius II ruled the Roman Empire. The warring Roman army experienced an acute shortage of soldiers for military campaigns, and the commander was convinced that the main enemy of his “Napoleonic” plans was marriage, for a married legionnaire thought much less about the glory of the empire than about how to feed his family. To preserve the military spirit in his soldiers, the emperor issued a decree forbidding legionnaires to marry.
But the soldiers did not become less in love from this. And to their happiness, a man was found who, not fearing the imperial anger, began to marry the legionnaires with their beloved secretly. It was a priest named Valentine from the Roman city of Terni (Valentine of Terni).
Letter of Saint Valentine
Apparently, he was a real romantic since his favorite pastimes were to reconcile the quarreling, help write love letters and give flowers to the objects of their passion at the legionnaires’ request.
Of course, as soon as the emperor found out about this, he decided to stop his “criminal activities”. Valentine was sentenced to death. The tragedy of the situation was also that Valentine himself was in love with the jailer’s daughter. The day before the execution, the priest wrote a farewell letter to the girl, where he spoke about his love and signed it “Your Valentine”. It was read after he was executed.
Since 1969, as a result of the reform of the divine service, Saint Valentine was removed from the Catholic Church’s liturgical calendar (along with other Roman saints, information about whose life is contradictory and unreliable). However, even until 1969, the church did not approve and did not support the traditions of celebrating this day.
Valentine’s day become commercial
Whether it was so or otherwise, but, most likely, it was from there that it was customary to write love notes on Valentine’s Day – “Valentines”. They also like to arrange weddings and get married on this holiday. It is believed that this will become a guarantee of eternal love. In Western Europe, Valentine’s Day has been widely celebrated since the 13th century, in the United States since 1777.
The tradition of giving gifts on this day grew stronger every year, and for some, it has become a fairly successful business. For example, at the beginning of the last century, Americans were customary to send marzipans to their brides, which were quite expensive.
In Japan, the tradition of giving sweets on this day appeared at the suggestion of a large chocolate company. They began celebrating Valentine’s Day there in the 1930s, and to this day, chocolate remains the most common gift. By the way, there Valentine’s Day slightly resembles “March 8 for men”, as Japanese men receive, perhaps, even more gifts than women: men’s accessories such as a razor, lotion, wallet, and so on.
It is customary for passionate French people to give jewelry on Valentine’s Day, and in romantic Denmark, people send dried white flowers to each other.
In Britain, unmarried girls on February 14 get up before sunrise, stand by the window and watch the passing men. According to legend, the first man they see is the betrothed.
In Some countries in Africa, men and women visit less-privileged people, while others believe it’s a day of natural love between man and woman. But some countries in the world have particularly excelled in celebrating Valentine’s Day. First of all, this is Saudi Arabia, which is the only country in the world where this holiday… is officially banned, moreover, under pain of hefty fines.