Valentine’s Day, popularized in many countries as the day of affection, in fact has a really complex origin. At present, February 14 is celebrated all over the world in diverse traditions and regions, even though in some countries the celebration of the day of affection is prohibited.
Usually, the celebration is marked by expressing the love between couples, giving and receiving gifts, spending the day with the partner, etc. Valentine’s Day culture is recurring in movies and books as well.
But this is how we celebrate the day in the twenty-first century. What was it like in the nineteenth or eighteenth century? What really gave way to the selection of February 14 as the day of affection, known as Valentine’s Day?
Origins of today’s Valentine’s Day:
The full name of Valentine’s Day is Valentine’s Day or Valentine’s Day. The day originated as a feast day for Christians to honor an early Christian martyr named Saint Valentine.
Pope Gelasius declared February 14 as Valentine’s Day around 498 AD Although according to some legends, the day is significant for not one, but two martyred Valentines.
A number of early Christian martyrs were named Valentine and the two Valentines related to this date are Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni. The first one was martyred in the year 269 and the last in the year 273.
Legends say that Valentine of Rome was interrogated by the Roman Emperor Claudius II during his imprisonment.
Claudius offered him to convert to Roman paganism in exchange for his life. But Valentine refused and instead tried to turn Claudius into a Christian for which he was killed.
But before his execution, he performed a miracle on the blind girl of his jail and healed her. After that, all the members of the prisons believed in Jesus and were baptized. This legend is found in a number of works on the martyrdom of the Saints including Beda’s Martyrology.
In the collection of hagiographies, known as “The Golden Legend”, which was widely read in Europe in medieval times, an embellishment was reportedly added in the 18th century which says that on the eve of his execution, Valentine wrote something to now no. longer blind daughter of the jailer who signs as “your Valentine”.
This is what was later adapted by modern Valentine letters in the expression “From your Valentine”.
There are a number of other legends as well, some of which say that Julia herself planted a pink-flowered almond tree near the grave of Saint Valentine which led to the almond tree remaining a symbol of affection and friendship.
According to another embellishment, he married soldiers who were forbidden to marry, in clandestine Christian weddings, and according to others he would cut hearts from parchment and provide them to persecuted soldiers and Christians possibly giving birth to the widespread use of hearts on Valentine’s Day.
Why Do We Celebrate Romantic Love on Valentine’s Day?
The easy answer to the question of whether there’s any connection between romantic love and the origin of Valentine’s Day is that there’s none. The date February 14 had no romantic connotation until Chaucer used this date in one of his poems in the 14th century to suggest romantic love.
“Because this was on Valentine’s Day When every bird comes there to choose its match”.
Chaucer wrote this poem in ‘Parliament of Fowls’ in honor of the first anniversary of the engagement between the fifteen year old Anne of Bohemia and King Richard II of England. It paved the way for the modern celebration of affection on Valentine’s Day.
Celebration and Tradition.
Of course, Valentine’s is an occasion predominantly in Christian and English-speaking countries.
The customs developed in early modern England and spread during the 19th century. During the next two centuries, these customs with other Christian aspects such as the legend of Santa Claus spread to other countries.
In India, Bangladesh, and other countries Valentine’s Day celebrations are spread through programs broadcast on commercial television channels such as MTV. Although in some countries including Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia this occasion is not encouraged and in some cases prohibited.
As a Holiday Hallmark:
In recent times Valentine’s has gained the reputation of a Holiday Hallmark because of its commercial significance. Lovers around the globe give one another cards, flowers, sweets, and other gifts as a sign of celebrating their love.