While the lovers are getting ready for the annual tribute to the greatness of love, celebrated as Valentine’s Day each year on February 14, different cultures do it their own way. Valentine’s day history is debated and traditions vary country-wise. Many of the English speaking developed countries like America and Europe, Australia and England exchange greetings in traditional ways. Cards and gifts, hugs and kisses are the norm and don’t forget that the extent of card giving on Valentine’s Day is second only to Christmas!
Considering the international significance of the days dedicated to the Environment, Peace, Happiness, Mothers, Girl Child, Mental Health and Diabetes, Fathers, No Tobacco and AIDS, a tribute to the power of love is all-encompassing. Which culture does not worship love? A pair of happy lovers is the prettiest sight imaginable and so many books and poems have been composed on the theme of love. Isn’t it right to state that love rules the world?
So, let’s go ahead and live it up with parties and music, dances and picnics to commemorate the force that holds humanity together. Romantic love may have its opponents, but love in the broader sense like between parents and children, siblings and teacher and student is truly elevating. Yet, some mysteries remain and perhaps it is a wild fling in the name of love on Valentine’s Day without getting at the essence of it all.
Who was Valentine?
Perhaps it is better not to delve into the Valentine Day history because of its dark and incoherent past. It is believed, according to different versions, that two or three persons existed by the name of Valentine. In the middle ages, or much before, in the 3rd century AD, the Romans executed two guys called Valentine on 14 February and not in the same year though. Have you heard of the Roman feast of Lupercalia that was held between 13 and 15 February and celebrated fertility? After the sacrifice of a goat and a dog, the men whipped the women with the skins of the animals sacrificed to encourage fertility. It is believed by some that such is the origin of the practice of lovemaking on this great day.
According to another version, the Lupercalia fertility festival was held in honor of the Roman agricultural deity named Faunus as well as the founders of Rome called Romulus and Remus. It is believed that the pagan festival became Christianized in the process.
Agreeing with the Catholic Church, three saints named Valentinus became martyrs. One story mentions the third century when Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage in the belief that young men without families fought wars better. The saint continued blessing marriages in secret was discovered and executed.
Romance rules for the moment on 14 February
The dark and uncertain mysteries of the origin of Valentine need not bother young lovers who deserve to live it up on this profound occasion! If interested in the extent of business supported by Valentine’s Day, it is a mighty billion-dollar industry that manufactures a range of cards and gifts besides all the parties and special foods to mark the essentially happy occasion. So, lose yourself in the festive fervor and let the past be. Just like Christmas, let it be unalloyed joy in the memory of all the great lovers of history.
Learning from some different love traditions
February through April is the season for love. Women hand over gifts starting 14 February while 14 March is when the men reciprocate.
Women give gifts of chocolate on this hallowed date and it is the turn of men on March 14.
It is love and friendship day on 20 September.
Gifts are handed over to women on International Women’s Day on 8 March. Men are celebrated on 23 February.
The tradition extends to the 17th century in England, which gradually spread all over Europe. Exchange of small love tokens continued in the 18th century before printing ushered in greeting cards in the 19th century. Canada and Mexico, France and Australia celebrate the occasion with equal intensity. Live it up your way.