Chocolate boxes, the colour red and beautifully designed cards, are the major calling cards for the valentine season. The 14th of February is marked on various calendars as Valentine’s Day. A day filled with love, romance, and lots of chocolate.
A not so decent number of can differentiate between the facts and fiction when comes to the celebration of Valentine’s day, and how it all came about. In a bid to gird the public with the right knowledge, we have written facts about February 14, at the time clarify any vagueness and misconceptions attached to the celebration of Valentine’s Day.
Who is St. Valentine — One Origin or More?
There are varying tales concerning the origin of Valentine’s Day. However, all the stories make mention of one person, St. Valentine.
Who is this mysterious figure that has wrought so much controversy on the subject of love and has a whole holiday for himself?
Historically, there are facts to authenticate the fact that there really was a man who bore the name Valentine and lived during the third century. The Roman Catholic Church also have records that further give credence to the existence of St.Valentine. But the church is also not completely sure if there were two Valentines either of which the holiday could have stemmed from.
St Valentine according to some myths, was a catholic priest who encouraged young love, and secretly conducted marriages for young lovers, during a period where such was not allowed.
A common story about St. Valentine is that at one point in his life after he had served as the Bishop of Terni, Narnia and Amelia, he was placed under house arrest with Judge Asterius. While discussing religion and faith, Valentine affirmed the validity of Jesus, and this was immediately put to the test by the Judge. He had a blind daughter and Valentine was told to restore the daughter’s sight. Attributing it to the love of Christ, her sight was restored.
During his lifetime, Valentine was later arrested and brought before the Roman Emperor, Claudius Gothicus (Claudius II). His crime was preaching of the gospel and the conversion of people to the Christian faith.
Another more thrilling claim of St. Valentine’s existence is that he was a Roman Priest, who was martyred during Claudius’ reign. His crimes were, marrying Christian couples, and helping Christians being persecuted in Rome. Both acts were considered very grievous crimes.
An additional account shows that St Valentine was a Roman Priest, who was imprisoned for the crime of not sacrificing to pagan gods, and while in prison, healed the jailer’s daughter, who was blind. On the night of his execution, he left the lady a note signed “Your Valentine.”
It is easy to conclude that most of the stories bear slightly different tales, and thus can be questioned. Are the Valentines in the various stories one and the same? Or various characters scattered within the same time frame? Or more still are those stories invented?
The Feast of Lupercalia
The festival of Lupercalia is one that precedes Valentine’s Day and was celebrated between the 14 – 15 of February. History has it that Romulus and Rems the founders of Rome were thrown into the Tiber River to drown. A servant took pity on them and instead placed them in a basket beside the river. They were later rescued by a she-wolf who raised them at her den.
After they had grown, they came back to the den where the She-wolf had nurtured them, and they named it Lupercal. Lupercalia took place to honour the she-wolf and please the Roman fertility god Lupercus.
The feast of Lupercalia kicked off with ritual sacrifice, and after the feast was over, men who were almost naked would use goat thongs and slapped women insight while running through the city. It was believed that receiving the slaps would help improve fertility.
This tradition was later outlawed when Pope Gelasius I replaced it with the celebration of St Valentine in the Late 5th century A.D. There is still a little link to the now romanticized celebration of February 14.
Is Valentine’s Day Important?
Valentine’s day is a celebration that has gradually evolved over a period of time. It has inculcated various add-ons (good and bad) to its ever-evolving nature. From general notion, the intent of Valentine’s Day is to create an atmosphere of love, “courtly love” as the Catholics put it.
This notion of Courtly love is a laudable one and also recognize the fact that the day set out for Valentine’s Day more often than not creates an atmosphere for relaxation, in the middle of a period of hectic work. Its importance would stem out of the use of it.
As Christians, the Celebration of Valentine’s day is two-sided. The celebration of Valentine’s Day has become attached to a sort of immoral love, and in this sense should be discouraged. But the celebration of a day where love is encouraged and celebrated with caution and high esteem for moral values, Christians should celebrate it.
Should Christians Celebrate Valentine’s Day?
This question has been asked over and over again, and there have always been conflicting answers. A good number of Christians are of the opinion that the root of Valentine’s Day are not in any way Christian in nature and as such should not be celebrated. There are arguments also canvassed relying on the fact that no biblical saint of sort, has a separate holiday.
On the other side of the divide, many Christians value this day, and productively use it as an avenue to express love for friends and family. For this group of Christians, the meaning of Valentine’s Day transcends romantic love.
The question of celebrating Valentine’s Day remains open ended. However, we should understand that the root of our salvation is love. We should show love always, and whenever the opportunity arises.
Facts about Valentine’s Day that would interest you.
Guess what? Valentine’s day has had some intriguing facts that will surprise you. Here are some fun facts to keep in mind while celebrating Valentine’s Day this year.
- Every year, more than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolates are sold across the country. A whole lot right?
- Sorry men, it looks like you’ll be spending twice as much as women this year on gifts. The average man spends $130 on Valentine’s Day, while women spend about $70.
- Don’t forget about your pets! Every year, around 9 million people buy their pets a Valentine’s Day gift.
- February 14th is the second-largest card-giving day of the year, just after Christmas. This year, it’s expected that 1 billion cards will be exchanged around the world.
- Teachers receive the most Valentine’s Day cards, followed by kids, mothers, wives and girlfriends. Surprising right?
- More than one-third of men are comfortable not receiving anything from a lover on Valentine’s Day. I doubt this surprises anyone
- It’s estimated that the U.S. alone is going to spend $3.3 billion on flowers for loved ones this year. The only other day that beats Valentine’s Day in floral sales is Mother’s Day.
Myths about Valentine’s Day
There are a lot of myths that have become common place ‘facts’ surrounding Valentine’s Day and here are a few.
- If you see a squirrel on Valentine’s Day, you will marry a cheapskate who will hoard all your money. This is clearly a myth.
- Valentine’s Day was invented by greeting card companies. This is not true, as Valentine’s roots stretch far before the commercialization of the holiday.
- If you find a glove on the road on Valentine’s Day, your future beloved will have the other missing glove. As far as myths go, this is quite untrue.
- Cupid is the incarnation of sweetness and romance. This is untrue, as Cupid in ancient lore causes mischievous love rather than sweetness and romance.
- If a girl saw Sparrow, she will marry with a poor man who will bring lots of happiness in marriage and life.
Romanticizing Valentine’s Day
It is important to recognize that the attachment of a romantic theme to February 14th took root in the middle ages. This is attributed to Geoffrey Chaucer, an English poet who made us of the phrase “for this assent on Seynt Valentyne’s day/ Whan every soul cometh there to choose his mate” in his poem “Parliament of Foules.” This occurred during a romantic move in literature in the middle ages.
Even though Valentine greetings took root in the middle ages, it wasn’t until the 1400s that written valentines became popular. This could be considered as a prelude to the use and popularity of Valentine cards.
Chocolates and Valentine
Chocolates and Valentine seem to go like one and two. They are boxed and wrapped and presented as an affectionate display of emotions during the Valentine season. It was not always like this.
Richard Cadbury, a member of the British chocolate manufacturing family, developed a new technique of extracting pure cocoa butter from whole beans, during a time when chocolate wasn’t a common commodity. With his techniques, he was able to produce more chocolate and at an even sweeter taste.
This occurred during a low period of the company’s history. Cadbury took advantage of the Valentine season which had taken over most English speaking countries and created fancy boxes alongside the chocolate. The boxes became a fad, and so did the sweet chocolate.
Cupid and Valentine
The word Cupid means “desire”. He is represented as a naked, chubby boy with wings, a bow and quiver of love arrows. As his name signifies, he is supposedly responsible for desires, and love spread through the shooting of his arrows. The loves from cupid are also sometimes attributed to “stupid love.”
Roses and Valentine
Roses have always been the flower of romance. During the times, Knights of old would give roses to their beloved as a sign of their love. The various colours of the rose also had its significance with regards to the concept of love.
Countries Valentine’s Day is Popular in
Valentines day is celebrated all over the world. However, it is more popular in some countries than others. Here is a list of countries that valentine’s day is popular in.
- Puerto Rico
- Sri Lanka
- Dominican Republic
- South Africa
- United states of America
- The United States of America
- The United Kingdom
- South Korea
Surprised? These data where gotten from Google trends, based on searches of people from different part of the world.
Countries that Do Not Celebrate Valentines Day
Here are 5 countries that do not encourage the celebration of Valentine’s Day.
- Saudi Arabia
These nations are predominantly populated with Muslims, thus their reaction to the celebration.
What to do as Christians when Celebrating Valentine’s Day
The celebrations of Valentine’s day is to show love. Not just the romantic kind, but God’s kind as written in the Bible.
It should be kept in mind that after Valentine’s Day, life goes on. Thus spending should be properly planned. The sincerity of the person giving the gift is much more valuable than the gift being given.