Valentine’s Day is celebrated world-wide every year on February 14. Millions of people from teenagers, young adults and the elderly across all cultures recognize this date as a day to celebrate love.
There are many legends surrounding the origin of Valentine’s Day and perhaps the true history of this day and why it is celebrated will forever remain shrouded in mystery. However, what we do know is that Valentine’s Day played a significant part in our history to dedicate this day to celebrating love.
The Legend of St. Valentine
There are manystories related to the origins and celebration of Valentine’s Day. According to one legend, it is linked to early Christian Saint Valentine. In 270AD Claudius II (the reigning emperor of the Roman Empire), enforced a new law to forbid marriage. He imposed this law to ensure that his army remain loyal to him as he believed that soldiers who were married or engaged would be unable to concentrate on fighting.
It is believed that Valentine, a Christian Priest in Rome defied Claudius’ law and secretly performed marriage ceremonies for soldiers. As a result, Valentine was imprisoned and later executed. During his imprisonment, Valentine himself fell in love with the daughter of the prison guard. Legend believes that on February 14, the day before his execution, he wrote her a note and signed it “from your Valentine”, thus starting the tradition of Valentine’s Day card.
Another legend links Valentine’s Day to High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly lovethrived. During the 18th century in England, it flourished into an occasion when lovers expressed their love for each other.
Since then, this day is traditionally celebrated by the lovers who like to express their love for each other by sending Valentine’s cards, presenting flowers and gifting confectionery etc.
What connection Cupid has with it?
According to Roman mythology, Venus, the goddess of love and beauty had a son named Cupid, who would shoot people with his magical arrows and make them fall in love.
Legend dictates that Cupid himself fell in love and married a mortal named Psyche, whose beauty angered his mother. Driven by her jealousy, Venus forbade her daughter-in-law to look at Cupid, however Psyche could not resist herself and thus snuck a peak at her handsome husband.
As a result, Venus punished Psyche by demanding that she perform three hard tasks, each more challenging than the last, and the last of which caused her death. It is believed that Cupid brought psyche back to life, and the God’s were so moved by their love for one another that they granted Psyche immortality.
Today Cupid represents the heart and Psyche the struggles of love.
Typical Valentine’s Day Gifts: Greeting Cards, Flowers and Chocolates
Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards. This tradition of sending Valentine’s Day greetings continues to be popular tothis day with the U.S. Greeting Card Association giving an estimated figure of 190 million greeting cards being sent each year. Today, the tradition of sending Valentine’s Day cards is not restricted to lovers, as many now send Valentine’s greeting cards to friends, family and teachers.
With the rapid growth and revolution of digital technology, it is now easier to send a Valentine’s message or gift to those close to you. The advances to digital technology has created a trend of e-cards and printable greeting cards.
Hollywood gets inspired
So popular is this term now that Hollywood produced in 2010 a movie called Valentine’s Day. It is a Comedyand Romance genre’ story where the Intertwining couples and singles in Los Angeles break-up and make-up based on the pressures and expectations of Valentine’s Day. The cast of the movie included famous actors like Julia Roberts, Jamie Foxx, Anne Hathaway and it is directed Garry Marshall.
The Fun and Romance Factors
Over the period, this day has come to be associated with a common greeting of “Happy Valentine’s Day.” Also as a joke, Valentine’s Day is also referred to as “Singles Awareness Day.”
In schools, children decorate classrooms, exchange cards, and eat sweets. The greeting cards of these students often mention what they appreciate about each other.
Facts about Valentine’s Day
- In the early 19th century, the medical doctors commonly advised their heartbroken patients to eat chocolate, claiming it would soothe their pain. Perhaps that is the reason that to this day, many women find comfort in a box of chocolates when dealing with heartbreak.
- A love knot is a symbol of undying love, as its twisting loops have no beginning and no end. In the past, they were made of ribbon or drawn on paper to prove one’s eternal love.
- Every Valentine’s Day, the Italian city of Verona, the home of Shakespeare’s lovers Romeo and Juliet, receives about 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet.
- About 3 percent of pet owners will give Valentine’s Day gifts to their pets.
- 220,000 is the average number of wedding proposals on Valentine’s Day each year.
Romantic ideas to express your love on Valentine’s day
- Surprise your beloved with special something s/he has been coveting for some time.
- Plan and Take a long drive together – this will provide you with the best time for being together and talking one-on-one.
- Grab him when he is least expecting it, smile, hug and a kiss him passionately.
- Make a special breakfast for him or her.
- Make a special dinner booking in a restaurant of his / her choice.
- Put a sweet handwritten note in his briefcase or bag which s/he will find it when at work.
- Gift special flowers or cookies or chocolates.
- Book a well know spa for a massage and beauty treatment together
- Scatter rose petals on the bed
- Buy his favorite perfume or sunglasses or tie, and simply put it in the cabinet for him to discover later on his own.
- Frame a picture of the two of you
- Do an activity that he loves, such as boat ride or jogging or golf or shopping that your beloved loves.
- Compose a poem in her or his praise and read it out with all the style and love in your body language
- Propose in a romantic manner and in style.
The modern times relevance of Valentine’s day
It is no more an occasion restricted only to romantic love.
There are many more aspects and angles to it. Firstly, it evokes a strong association to expectation and enjoyment of the gifts of chocolates, flowers, and other items which are expressions of love, sweetness, friendship and appreciation.
Secondly, it is now a heavily commercially driven where the shops, malls and internet is full of goodies that one can choose to gift to his or her valentine. It is a multi-million dollar (or perhaps multi-billion dollar) business keeping everyone busy – from the factories down to the retailers.
Whether married or in a stable, loving relationships, this day offers a magnificent opportunity to express or reaffirm the love between the couples.
Thirdly, this day triggers not so good feelings for singles or to those have recently lost their partner because of separation or divorce or death. Feelings of overwhelming loneliness and pain of broken heart are not uncommon on this day.
So why not add another tradition on this day. For such persons who are emotionally very uncomfortable on this day, it might be helpful if the friends or family members spend time with them, sustaining their faith in the power and beauty of positive, loving relationships.
So initiate a new tradition, by invite your single friends over for dinner, or take flowers to their house.
Fourthly, it has become more of a ritual where one mechanically gives a gift or says “Happy Valentine’s Day”.
Why not do something about it? Let us think of planning on how you want to genuinely express your feelings to that someone so special and invaluable in your life. Think how you can chalk out the schedule of this special day that actually makes you and other important people in life feel good. Fill the day with all the warmth in your actions and expressions that it becomes a memorable day for all. Allow yourself to be surrounded with people who have brought care, comfort and love in your life.
For many it is the day to be celebrated with Flowers, Chocolates and Greeting Cards but for some it is your time, care and presence which is more valuable. This Valentine’s Day, offer yourself to all of the loved ones in your life, and make the effort to show that how much you love and care for them!
Valentine’s Day offers us a unique opportunity to undertake a new perspective on how we choose to celebrate love.
So why not be a bit different this Valentine’s Day!
Do share these points about Valentine’s Day with a friend.