History of Valentine’s Day: why is it celebrated?

Every February 14, many places around the world celebrate Valentine’s Day, Valentine’s Day, or simply love and friendship in general. Flowers, chocolates, romantic dinners, secret messages between the couple… for some it is just another commercial date, ‘invented’ to increase gift sales, but there are also those who consider that the origin of Valentine’s Day is based on ancient traditions and legends dating back to the time of the Roman Empire. Do you want to know the history of Valentine’s Day and why it is celebrated? In this dolboard article, we review the possible theories about how this particular celebration arose and in which countries it is most deeply rooted.

Why Valentine’s Day is Valentine’s Day

Legends, traditions, and perhaps some historical fact intermingle when it comes to determining the origin of Valentine’s Day, but of all the possible theories the most popular and accepted is the one that relates Valentine’s Day with the saint’s own figure, a priest who is believed to have lived in 3rd-century Rome, early in the spread of the Christian faith.

Legend has it that Claudius II, who was emperor at the time, had forbidden young people to marry in order, with this drastic measure, to prevent men from being reluctant to enlist in the Roman army and willing to fight until they gave their lives. Free from love ties. Faced with this situation, the priest Valentin dedicated himself to secretly marrying young lovers who asked him to do so. These practices reached the ears of the emperor and caused the priest to be arrested and finally executed on February 14, 269, hence is the date on which the day of the saint and of love is celebrated.

Legend also tells that while he was imprisoned, Valentin met the daughter of his jailer, a young woman blind from birth named Julia, to whom he restored her sight before dying by performing a miracle. It is said that Saint Valentine, during his captivity, fell in love with the girl and that, before being beheaded, he gave her a note saying goodbye saying ‘your Valentine’, convinced that, by divine intervention, he could read it (as Perhaps it is the origin of the love letters and notes that couples write and send on the saint’s day).

The Lupercalia

Another well-known theory about why Valentine’s Day is celebrated suggests that the origin is in the Lupercal festival that took place in the month of February, also in ancient Rome. In this pagan festival, animal sacrifices were frequent to cover women with their skin and thus promote their fertility. It is believed that in the 5th century AD, to put an end to these practices and once the Catholic Church was established, it was Pope Gelasius I who established the festivity of Saint Valentine on February 14.

Bird parliament

There are those who link the celebration of Valentine’s Day with the beginning of spring, relating it to 14th-century writing by the poet Geoffrey Chaucer, in which it is narrated how every year, when Valentine’s Day arrives, love arises and each bird chooses its couple.

In which countries is Valentine’s Day celebrated?

Although its origin is not determined with certainty, the reality is that every year Valentine’s Day or Valentine’s Day is celebrated in many parts of the world, celebrating love and friendship with gifts and curious traditions.

Valentine’s in Europe

Spain, Austria, France, Italy, and Germany are some European countries where lovers celebrate their ‘patron’ every year. Also in Denmark or Norway, it is a tradition that on February 14 men send cards with funny poems to women anonymously. The most romantic gifts and even marriage proposals on that day are also a custom in countries like Finland or Estonia.

Valentine in America

Also in the United States, Valentine’s Day is a deeply rooted holiday, in which love and friendship are celebrated with the exchange of gifts. In Latin America, the most romantic date of the year is not lacking every February. In Mexico, the Day of Love and Friendship is celebrated and in Guatemala or Peru, Valentine is identified with the day of Love.

Valentine’s Day in other parts of the world

In other countries such as the Philippines, Valentine’s Day is one of the favorite days to get married and mass weddings in which numerous couples get married at the same time are frequent. In Japan, tradition indicates that it is women who give chocolates to men, each chocolate with a very specific meaning to express affection and friendship or love. Finally, in South Africa, the explicit declaration of love is made by pinning a note with the name of the loved one on the sleeve of the shirt, so that it is very clear that Valentine’s Day is celebrated.

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