“Love is the flower; you’ve got to let it grow.” These words of John Lennon perfectly illustrate the meaning of love. This feeling can exist in many shapes and forms like love for the family, friends and pets, also patriotism or adoration for a passion. However, most often Valentine’s Day is associated with romantic connections. If you’re curious about how this came to be, we’ve got 10 interesting facts about
1. The Valentine’s Day Celebration began in 496
According to the BBC, the year 496 is a setting stone for a Valentine’s Day because ancient Romans had a tradition of celebrating a festival called Lupercalia, which marked the beginning of spring. During that feast, guys were taking names of females from a box, and on a celebration, they would become a couple and even get married in some cases.
2. There are 3 Separate Saints under the Valentine’s Name
The Catholic Church distinguished at least three various saints called “Valentine or Valentinus” and they were all tortured.There is one fable about a priest called Valentine who lived in third-century Rome. At the time, Emperor Claudius II concluded that bachelors served better as warriors than those who were married or had families. So he prohibited young men from getting married. The brave priest Valentine disagreed with the Emperor’s decision and carried on performing young people’s marriages in secret. The Emperor became furious, and he ordered to kill the disobedient priest. Another Saint Valentine was a pontiff of Terni who was decapitated by Claudius II. The third Valentine was supposedly killed because of trying to help Christians run away from Roman prisons.
3. A Secret Romance as a Possible Start of “From your Valentine” Phrase
There is one legend about how Saint Valentine who assisted Christians had been imprisoned and sent the first “valentine” greeting after he became smitten with a girl who was the jailor’s daughter and was paying visits to Valentine. Before his death, Valentine wrote a letter to his visitor that was signed “From your Valentine”.
4. Nature and Poems Made Valentine’s Day Romantic
Pope Gelasius announced the 14th of February as Valentine’s Day at the end of the 5th century. In medieval England and France, the same day of February was believed to be the start of the mating season of birds. The English poet Geoffrey Chaucer was the first person who identified St. Valentine’s Day as a time of romantic celebration in his poem “Parliament of Foules” written in 1375. Charles, Duke of Orleans, wrote a poem to his wife in 1415 when he was imprisoned in the Tower of London.
5. Cupid is Both Roman and Greek God of Love
Have you noticed a tiny cute cherub with a bow and arrow associated with Valentine’s Day? He is the Roman God Cupid who is also closely tied to Greek mythology as a God of love, Eros. There are many versions of who are the actual parents of Eros. Possible parents of this mystical creature can be Nyx, the Greek Goddess of night, and Erebus, the Greek God of shadow. Another possibility is the pair of Greek Goddess of the beauty, love and pleasure Aphrodite and the Greek God of the battle Ares. Some might argue that Greek personification of rainbow Iris and Greek God of west wind Zephyrus are the primary relatives of Cupid, in other words, Eros. Aphrodite and the Greek God of the sky Zeus are speculated to be the parents of Eros.
6. Romantic Valentine’s Cards Possibly Have Roots from a German Tradition
According to Britannica, a German tradition of giving friendship cards “Freundschaftskarten” on the New Year’s Day, birthdays and other celebrations might be a starting point of Valentine’s Day cards. The same tradition was happening in ancient Egypt and China when people who shared close bonds gave each other presents because of the New Year. In the 18th century, people in Europe and the US started to exchange friendship cards on Valentine’s Day. This method became more popular in England in the middle of 19 century because of penny post that made shipping less expensive.
7. In Japan Women Express Their Love to the Men
According to WorldStrides, in Japan, women make a romantic gesture to beloved males by giving them gifts during Valentine’s Day. The most common present is “honmei-choco”, that is homemade chocolate. Men show their love to the women on 14th March recognized as the White Day when white chocolate and other white presents are given to females to express love and care.
8. Valentine’s Day as a Friend’s Day in Estonia and Finland
14th February in Estonia and Finland is dedicated to appreciating all close to the heart connections, not only the romantic ones, by giving cards and gifts. This day is famous for engagement in these two countries as well. Also, in Estonia, singles can try the Love Bus that allows them to meet a significant other.
9. Snowdrops are the Main Valentine’s Flowers in Denmark
Reader’s Digest found that whilst most people worldwide are obsessed with roses, Denmark holds a tradition of giving snowdrops to loved ones instead. Occasionally Danish men write unsigned amusing poems named “gaekkebrev” to women that are a set of dots. The recipient later receives an Easter egg from a sender.
10. Valentine’s Day is strictly a Day of Romance in Italy
A popular present between lovers in Italy is Baci Perugina – hazelnut chocolate sweets that hold romantic messages inside the foil. The word “Baci” translates into a kiss, so it creates an impression that lovers are giving kisses to each other.
Valentine’s Day history is more complicated and complex than it looks like based on the first impressions. Surprisingly, this celebration has a lot to do with religion and evolution of people’s perception of love.