Valentine Day is a day of romance and is celebrated on 14th Feb every year. On this day, people exchange red roses, cards and candies with their partner or known as ‘Valentine.’ It is a day when people show love and affection for those that they adore. It is celebrated in many ways throughout the world. While some people take their loved one for a dinner, there are some who propose to their loved one or get married. This day is not restricted to making love with your partner but it is also observed as a day of friendship in some countries wherein the people show affection for their friends and try to mend their broken relationships.
What is the history behind Valentine Day?
The history of Valentine's Day dates back to 3rd Century with two main identities playing the main role; St. Valentinus, a Roman priest, who was a humble Christian Martyr and Roman emperor Claudius II. The emperor had ordered Romans to worship 12 Gods and those who do not follow his orders were hanged to death. However, Valentinus was loyal to Christ and he didn't follow any of his rules and that's why he was arrested by the emperor's soldiers.
During the last weeks of Valentinus' life, a miracle happened. The jailer, on request of Valentinus , allowed him to meet his daughter Julia who was blind since birth. Valentinus read stories to her and described the world of nature to her. She asked him whether God really hears the prayers sent by human beings. The priest replied in affirmative. She told him that she prays everyday so that she can see the world. While they were both sitting together, a bright light gathered at the prison cell which made Julia jump with joy as she was being able to see everything in a crystal clear manner.
On the eve of Valentinus death, he wrote his last note to Julia to make her believe in God and signed the letter with- ‘From your Valentine.' His death sentence was carried on next day that is 14th Feb. Julia planted an almond tree in his father's memory, near his grave. That's how on every 14th Feb that is Saint Valentine's Day, messages of love, affection and devotion are carried out throughout the world.
Which folk traditions are associated with Valentine Day?
Although European Folk traditions connected with Valentine’s Day are being influenced with Anglo- American customs that relate to romantic love, there are still some associations with connecting the day with coming of spring.
It was in England that the custom of sending cards, flowers and chocolates originated. However, there are still some folk traditions observed in the country related to this day and one is ‘Norfolk’ in which the character called Jack Valentine knocks on the doors of the houses and leaves sweets for children.
In Slovenia, Saint Valentine is often connected with saints of spring and that of good health. He is also referred as the key of roots. Plants and flowers start growing on this day. The people also say that birds propose to each other and marry on this day.
Thus, Valentine day is often connected with many folk traditions which vary depending on region to region.