Valentine’s Day: Legends, Significance and Celebrations of the Day of Love
Happy Valentine’s Day
“There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.”
As the words of George Sand paint romance with the colors of joy, excitement, care, passion and above all, love, Valentine’s day celebrates the most intense emotion one wishes to feel. In showers of rose petals and paper hearts, balloons and teddy bears, chocolates, cakes and fancy dates, painting the streets in mists of pink and red, Valentine’s day is all dreamy today. Traditions of exchanging gifts, penning down letters in anticipation with confessions of love and surprising sweethearts on February 14th every year, find new glamour, pomp and hype as the years pass by.
Yet, the origin of Valentine’s Day is a lot less romantic.
The Origin of St. Valentine’s Day
The origin of Valentine’s Day dates back centuries, in the midst of antiquity long before America was born. Thousands of years ago, in Rome, a holiday was observed, which was then known as Lupercalia (literally translates to “feasts of Lupercus”). The Romans believed that a God, that went by the name Lupercus protected its people from wolves, who were a grave threat to cattle and humans alike.
Every year in the mid of February, Romans hosted feasts to honor their God Lupercus in gratitude of saving their lives, and they observed Lupercalia to celebrate and worship the Italian God.
Lupercalia- The Feasts of Lupercus
As part of its festivities, people feasted, danced and played games all day long. People sacrificed a dog and a goat for the feasts, and men used the hides of slain animals to whip women. Apparently, women lined up to get whipped because they believed it made them fertile.
Valentines Day 2024 is on February 14 Wednesday
8 months and 12 days to go for the event
The origin of St. Valentine’s Day
When young men wanted partners to join them in games and dances, they drew names of girls out from a bowl. These girls would be their partners in these games, and often they would begin courtship too. The tradition of drawing names of partners, or suitors, from a bowl to accompany them for festivities was carried on for years.
People celebrated Lupercalia for centuries until Christianity came to Rome. Romans ceased to believe in a God as Lupercus, yet they stood reluctant to give up celebrating Lupercalia. Hence, they continued to celebrate the festival with the name of a priest of the Roman church, St. Valentine, who died on February 14th. Lupercalia was replaced by the name St. Valentine by Pope Gelasius by the end of the 5th century. The history and legend revolving around St. Valentine are, however, found rusted and unclear.
From Lupercalia to Valentine’s Day
Eventually, February 14th came to be celebrated as St. Valentine’s Day. And as time went by, the festivities of Valentine’s Day became popular in France and England. People continued to celebrate the day with feasts and drinks, dance and games, and they picked out the names of their partners just like the Romans used to do.
Celebration of love
It was a popular belief in England that birds choose their mate on February 14th, so people observed this day as the day to choose their sweethearts. When men chose their sweethearts on this day, they called them their valentine. People addressed letters to their valentine in little handwritten cards with illustrations of hearts and a few lines of romantic verses. They exchanged cakes, candy, jewels and flowers as gifts on Valentine’s day. And as the English migrated to America, so did the traditions of their favorite holiday festival.
Valentine’s Day today is not just celebrated among romantic couples but among everybody who wishes and honors love to everyone around them.
From Your Valentine…
St. Valentine is known to have helped Christian couples in love get married secretly and was sentenced to live the rest of his days behind bars when he was found guilty. Single men were forced to join the army, and St. Valentine opposed to get them under command without their will or consent. So, he got the men secretly married to their sweethearts.
When he was in jail, St. Valentine fell in love with his jailer’s blind daughter. It is said that St. Valentine cured her blindness. He wrote her letters, which he closed and signed as “From your Valentine…”
From Your Valentine...
Upon getting caught, St. Valentine was sentenced to death, and the then Roman Emperor Claudius II decapitated him on February 14th. And about two centuries later, when Christianity intended its roots in Rome, the day began to be observed as Valentine’s Day, and the pagan fertility ritual was abolished.
Valentine’s Week (February 7th – February 14th)
While Valentine’s Day is celebrated in a single day, the celebrations begin a week earlier from February 7th. To each day of the Valentine’s Week is pinned a name and a theme is associated for each day. Starting from Rose Day all the way to Valentine’s Day, here is a list of each day of the Valentine’s week.
February 7th- Rose Day
People shower their beloved with roses, mostly red roses, to express their love.
February 8th- Propose Day
This is the day when confessions of love lurk in the air. People choose this day to pop the question even.
February 9th- Chocolate Day
Chocolate to smoothen chocolaty sayings and sweet nothings. People exchange sweets and chocolates to share love.
February 10th- Teddy Day
Personifying one’s love in the shape of a plush toy is romantic. Suitors gift teddy bears to their sweethearts to cuddle and as a token to remember their affection.
February 11th- Promise Day
“Woods are lovely dark and deep, but I have promises to keep.” Couples make promises to stay together through time and tide on Promise Day.
February 12th- Hug Day
There is nothing more romantic than the warm embrace of a loved one. A hug has the power to solve every problem without a word!
February 13th- Kiss Day
People celebrate this day right before Valentine’s Day. They gently plant a kiss on their beloved as an intimate expression of their love, and make them feel special.
February 14th- Valentine’s Day
Romantic dates, candle light dinners, comfortable silences, gifts, surprises, romantic gestures; it’s sugar and spice and everything nice on Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day Today
Valentine’s Day today is a celebration of love not just among romantic couples but among friends and family as well. It is incredible how every expression of love is acknowledged in the present day. People leave gifts and chocolates for children. They shower their loved ones with poetry to express their affection.
Romantic dinner dates
Every gesture performed during Valentine’s Day goes up on the social media wall. People scrutinize each effort to impress their love, so much to the extent that Valentine’s Day today can be defined as toxic. People set in expectations to showcase a love that deems fit that may go beyond the subtleness of the emotion celebrated. They tend to go extravagant and choose luxury to ‘post’ their love for their partner.
Love is all about being there for each other with respect, companionship and acceptance of their true selves to their bones. A simple romantic gesture goes a long way.
Valentines Day festival dates between 2020 & 2030
|2020||Friday, 14th of February|
|2021||Sunday, 14th of February|
|2022||Monday, 14th of February|
|2023||Tuesday, 14th of February|
|2024||Wednesday, 14th of February|
|2025||Friday, 14th of February|
|2026||Saturday, 14th of February|
|2027||Sunday, 14th of February|
|2028||Monday, 14th of February|
|2029||Wednesday, 14th of February|
|2030||Thursday, 14th of February|