Valentine’s Day is celebrated every year on February 14 in several countries worldwide, including the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, France, China, Romania, Japan and India. Although this day initially commemorated the holy Christian martyrdom named Valentine, over the years religious significance has been lost. The origin of this holiday of love is not well known today. Some legends claim that on this day, in ancient Rome was celebrated Iuno, as the protector of women and marriages. The next day was Lupercalia, a pagan festival centred on Faunus, the god of agriculture and fertility.
Among the many events during the festival, an exciting tradition attracted attention, which brought together the boys and girls, who were separated according to the same legends. The night before the holiday, the girls’ names were written on paper pieces and placed in a bowl. The young people drew the tickets and thus formed pairs that sometimes lasted a year. Quite often, the two fell in love and got married.
Other legends tell us about Valentin. One of them says that in the 2nd-3rd centuries, he was a priest in Rome and during the reign of Emperor Claudius II. Valentin would have helped young people, Christians or pagans, to get married. On the other hand, the Roman emperor was convinced that men would be much better soldiers if they did not have fiancées or wives, so the emperor forbade marriages. On the other hand, the young priest argued that marriage was part of God’s plan and one of life’s purposes. Thus, he continued to marry young people in secret, in the name of love. When the emperor found out his secret, Valentin was imprisoned and sentenced to death, which happened on February 14, 269. The same legend says that Valentin, while in prison, fell in love with the guard’s daughter. Before he died, Valentin allegedly sent her a letter, which he signed “From your Valentine”. Since then, the tradition of sending love messages on this day has been maintained.
At the end of the fifth century, in 496 AD, Pope Gelasius I decided that February 14, the day Valentin was executed, should celebrate his name and be dedicated to his martyrdom. So, Saint Valentine, officially known as Saint Valentine of Rome, existed as a person. Is commemorated on February 14, in the Roman Catholic calendar. The martyr was buried in a cemetery on Via Flaminia, in the northern part of Rome.
In the Middle Ages, Valentine became one of the most popular saints in the Anglo-Saxon area. It was also believed that February 14 was when a new season made its presence felt, nature coming back to life, starting with the season when the birds were looking for their mate. This faith overlapped with Valentine’s Day, which became “the patron saint of lovers.” Other information about the evolution of this habit over time is unknown.
It seems that the modern tradition of celebrating Valentine’s Day appeared in the United States in the early 1700s when Americans began sending handwritten “valentines”. On the other side of the ocean, the British Esther Howland began in 1840 to sell the first mass greeting cards, one of which is on display at the British Museum. The greeting cards created were small works of art, made of real lace, ribbons and colourful images.
On February 14, lovers worldwide send millions of handwritten greetings, which remain the most appreciated way to say “I love you” or “I think of you”. The romantic message is accompanied by a bouquet or a single red rose. Gifts containing champagne and chocolate are also trendy. In other countries, Valentine’s Day is seen as the day when family members show their love for each other and friends. Some traditions include gifts for children and others evidence of appreciation among friends.
So, this is a day that you should not celebrate alone, but with your loved one. If you do not currently have a girlfriend, you can book a sweet escort to celebrate this tradition. She will appreciate a box of chocolates or a bouquet, in addition to the regular donation. Thus, you will not be one of the lonely people in Birmingham, but a man who celebrates Valentine’s Day properly.