The Significance of Valentine’s Day

Friday, February 8th, 2013

It is that time of year again. Love is in the air and pubescent teenagers are saving up on their allowances to buy gifts for their paramours. Children are scribbling Valentine Day cards with crayons for Mom and Dad. Gifts of candy and flowers are common and all in the name of the person who started it all St.Valentine.

Origins

But what is it about Valentine’s Day that is so special? Better yet, what has St.Valentine got to do with the day at all? Was he a tragic victim of some love unrequited?

Lovely CoupleThe history of Valentine’s Day is mostly shrouded in mystery. The month of February itself is known as a time of romance. The name Valentine is associated with both Christian and Roman tradition. For example one of the legends suggest that Valentine was a priest during the reign of Emperor Claudius who outlawed marriage for young men claiming that doing so made them better soldiers.
Valentine cried foul and continued to perform marriage rights for young couples in his defiance in secret. However, he was found out and put to death. Needless to say it isn’t surprising why the day is so popular with young lovers.
Colleges and pubs are where lovers meet the most. The reason why is apparent. Such institutes and establishments go all out to attract couples and make the day more festive or set the mood.
The festivities are most popular with teenagers who go to great lengths to express their undying love to their loved ones either in the form of gifts like chocolates or flowers or Valentine Day cards. In fact, it isn’t surprising when young lovers ask for advances on their allowance from their parents or work part time jobs to save up for expensive gifts. Marriage proposals are also at an all time high with wedding bells set to ring at a later date.

Roses are Red

The red rose enjoys acclaim as a staple choice of gift for Valentine’s Day. The red rose has always been depicted as a symbol of love and is a classic way to express romantic love or desire. This is also why the red rose is called the lover’s rose and why bouquets of the flower are so in demand before or on February 14th. 

Red Roses
How is it celebrated?

Most people spend Valentine’s Day either by buying or giving themed cards, flowers, and gifts or planning dates in restaurants. The day is a couples-only festivity. A popular tradition involves sending tokens of love anonymously.
The commodity markets also see a chance to cash in on this day. This is why Valentine’s Day merchandise is often decorated with hearts or Cupids. Chocolates and sparkling wine are seen as staple gift choices as well. Weddings also skyrocket during this day.
Hearts and Cupids are common sights. Cupid is portrayed as a winged figure with a bow and arrow. In actuality the figure is the Roman god of desire and erotic love who strikes the hearts of people. So it isn’t surprising why this particular figure was chosen as a staple symbol.

Valentine's GiftsWhy is it so Special?

The tradition of courtly love managed to make it through the modern world. Perhaps the most significant aspect of Valentine’s Day is that it can be used to express your feelings to anyone whom you might not have had time for before. Telling someone you love them is good but a token of love in the form of gifts, cards, candy or flowers brings such a message closer to home. It doesn’t matter who it is given to whether one asks a child, parent, grandparent or spouse to be their Valentine. The act itself speaks louder than words ever can.

How is it Celebrated Around the World

Valentine’s Day is mostly celebrated the same way world over as it is in the US. However there are some variations in certain countries like Vietnam where couples wear the same style of clothes. Similarly in Japan, it is the girls who present homemade chocolates to the men they like. The men respond in kind by giving their women white chocolate or cookies in March.