Initially, Valentine's Day was only a religious holiday of Catholic origin. Now it is celebrated in many countries. The traditions of the celebration have long crossed the thresholds of temples and delight everyone who feels love with beautiful customs. On February 14, they confess their feelings to their soulmate. Many lovers make marriage proposals. Well, those who thought about the romantic component in advance, enter into marriage on this day. Actually, marriages it all started.
History of Valentine's Day
The legendary Christian priest Valentine, originally from the city of Terni (Valentine of Terni), lived during the time of Emperor Claudius II of Gotha. Apparently, he was a progressive and kind-hearted person — in addition to his direct duties, he also healed soldiers and was engaged in other natural sciences.
The breadth of views, combined with philanthropy, inspired Valentine to break the law. Claudius, who believed that married legionnaires think too often about their family and therefore are not very willing to go into battle for the glory of Caesar, forbade the soldiers to marry. The priest secretly connected boys and girls in love by marriage, crowning them under the cover of night. In addition, romantic Valentine helped quarreling lovers to put up — he wrote letters and served as an intermediary, transmitting tender messages and flowers.
For this, Valentine was arrested and imprisoned. There he continued to convert the guards to Christianity. For refusing to renounce Christianity, he was executed on February 14, 269.
Later, Valentine, who gave his life for love, was canonized. And in 496, Pope Gelasius (Pope Gelasius I) declared February 14 Valentine's Day. Since 1969, as a result of the reform of divine services, Valentine has been removed from the liturgical calendar, along with other Roman saints, information about whose life and work is unreliable and contradictory. But grateful descendants remember, and every year they honor this amazing person who was endowed with incredible kindness and philanthropy.
During his stay in prison, the priest managed to write a tender letter to his beloved, which was found after the execution. At the end of the message was a short signature: your Valentine. This letter is considered the prototype Valentine, the main attribute of Valentine's Day.
Another version credits the invention of the custom of writing love letters to the Duke of Orleans in 1415. Being locked in a dungeon, the disgraced nobleman yearned for his wife and composed ardent messages for her.
The oldest valentine was found in one of the English libraries and dates back to 1477. The girl, whose name remains unknown, turns to her lover with a request to prove his love and promises that she will get a dowry from her mother.
The so-called sailors' valentines have become a joy for collectors — octagonal boxes, the lid of which is decorated with a mosaic of shells, made mainly in Barbados. Motives — heart, wind rose or love message. Many valentines have historical value and adorn museum displays.
Even more ancient origins...
It is believed that the popularity of Valentine's Day is explained by the replacement of pagan fertility rites, which fell just in mid-February. It was on these days that well-being was called for among different peoples for women and girls entering into marriage — various rituals were supposed to ensure the birth of healthy and numerous offspring.
The history of the holiday on the territory of Ukraine
On the territory of our state, St. Valentine's Day was celebrated long before the revolution of 1917, however, only in noble circles. Girls made valentines — hearts from paper, silk, lace. Decorated with dried flowers, sprinkled with perfume and put in the pockets of lovers.
Also at the balls, a game was popular, during which notes with the names of girls and single men were put into different hats. Then there was an exchange and everyone who participated in the game pulled a note. The resulting couples were supposed to spend the entire festive evening together. According to eyewitnesses, thanks to the game, many successful marriages were formed.
In the 90s, the holiday returned and immediately became popular — lovers appreciated the opportunity to beautifully recall their feelings. Moreover, in our country, Valentine's Day has become symbolic for everyone who experiences love — parents, children, spouses, lovers show signs of attention to each other, arrange pleasant surprises.
The beauty of the holiday lies in the fact that, above all, attention is valued. It is not at all necessary to present expensive presents, because nothing can be more expensive than sincere feelings.
Valentine's Day in different countries
In addition to the common tradition of exchanging valentines and love confessions, different countries have their own beautiful customs. Perhaps some of them will appeal to you, and you want to follow their example?
Ukraine and the CIS
For us, February 14 has become a holiday of Love — everyone who loves or feels sympathy exchanges signs of attention. The tradition of marrying or getting married on this day echoes the historical roots of the holiday. Like many centuries ago, lovers are still twirling in happiness under the auspices of a romantic saint.
During the gold rush, men tried to give their beloved a really expensive present. Now Australians present romantic gifts, sincerely trying to please their loved ones.
For singles, club parties are organized, where they can meet someone. A very successful tradition!
Girls receive bouquets of fresh red roses and many gifts. Some couples take trips to neighboring Germany, where in the city of Krumbach there is a church founded in honor of St. Valentine. Once upon a time, the saint gave bouquets to his beloved Roman legionnaires. Now grateful girls bring flowers to him.
England and Scotland
Appointed couples — they put notes with the girls' names in a bag and the guy who got the girl's name became her "Valentina", and she became his "Valentina". The relationship was reminiscent of chivalrous worship of a beautiful lady and could be combined with real love.
Also on this day, valentines and souvenirs are sent to loved ones, friends and even pets. Sweets are presented in the form of hearts, soft toys, especially the popular Teddy bears.
Girls are guessing at their betrothed. Early in the morning they stand at the window and the man they see first will be their sweetheart.
In Wales, guys give homemade wooden spoons decorated with hearts and other love symbols. How British rational it is!
Made-to-measure couples have passionate dates, shower each other with gifts and prove in every possible way that the legends about the Latin American temperament have real grounds. Married couples are limited to romantic postcards.
Lonely people exchange cupid figurines.
Men present red chrysanthemums and daisies — these flowers are considered here as a symbol of sincerity and care. Many engagements take place on this day. And lovers who decide to get married go to church to receive a blessing. Unmarried girls are trying their luck. They believe that if you eat a hard boiled egg on February 14, you will see your betrothed in a dream.
Hot hearts of Greek men beat on this day only for those they love. Special gifts are being prepared, the meaning of which is the chanting of love. In response, the girls present practical souvenirs. Lovers spend the whole day together — go on dates, travel, or just relax at home.
The Danes see a reason to have fun — mass festivities, concerts, noisy parties seem to refute the legends about the Nordic character of the northerners. Loved ones are given white flowers, real or artificial. Love poems or poems are attached to them.
According to the legend, Saint Valentine was born here.
Italians confess their love to each other, make dates, exchange wedding rings. The custom of giving sweets has led to the fact that Valentine's Day is called sweet in the country. Special sweets in a red wrapper with confessions inside — "Baci" — even appeared on sale.
Single women can learn their fate. According to custom, they wake up before sunrise and wait at the open window for the first male passer-by. He is asked marital status and name. If a man is married, it is not necessary to count on a serious relationship this year. If a bachelor met first, expect an enchanting romance. The name of the man will tell you what the name of the beloved will be.
They give bouquets of their favorite flowers or, if the preferences of the chosen one could not be found out, red roses. A very beautiful custom that combines care, attention and a sincere desire to please! Holidays often end in a restaurant or cafe, order a special menu. Some couples arrange a romantic weekend away from the hustle and bustle of the city — they go to rural hotels or accept proposals for a holiday program from nearby establishments.
Like everything Indian, Valentine's Day in this country is bright and original. Festivals, processions, competitions and other programs turn February 14 into an amazing show. To please their beloved, the girls put on the most beautiful dress.
They make memorable gifts decorated with dried white flowers and other symbolic elements for Valentine's Day. Congratulations to loved ones, relatives and friends. Schools are installing mailboxes, where schoolchildren drop valentines for boys and girls, as well as for teachers. Canadian girls can offer their hand and heart to the man they like.
Dutch Valentine's Day is famous for the fact that girls themselves can propose marriage to a man. If a man does not appreciate this gesture, he should give away a silk dress. To avoid such incidents, Dutch bachelors wear a heart on a string around their necks — as a sign that they are not yet ready for such serious changes. In other cases, they manage with flowers and chocolate. Bouquets and sweet sets made for a specific person are considered big chic.
Many Polish lovers go to the city of Poznan, where, according to legend, the relics of St. Valentine lie, they ask for protection in love. In addition, men invite women to a romantic dinner in a club or cafe. They give each other symbolic gifts.
Differs in scale of celebratory actions. Concerts, numerous shows, festivals, night programs attract a huge number of tourists who are happy to share the fun of the locals. In addition to all kinds of souvenirs, girls receive bouquets of red roses or tulips. On this day, the wedding boom reaches its climax — it is believed that the marriage concluded on February 14 will be happy, long and passionate.
Favorites receive marzipans and valentines as a gift. Caramel souvenirs are also popular. In this country, just like in our country, they congratulate everyone they love — spouses, parents, children, grandparents, friends and even colleagues.
Initially, Valentine's Day echoed the customs common to lovers of all countries, but in recent years there has been a trend to give bouquets and hearts made from banknotes of various denominations.
Seriously tuned monsieurs present jewelry, namely wedding rings. In addition to such decisive gifts, French madam and mademoiselle receive beautiful linen, chocolate, travel and other romantic gifts. Signs of attention are also given to everyone they love or feel sympathy for.
In the country of polite silent people, there is a tradition that only the brave can do — to shout about their love in a crowded place and as loudly as possible, having risen to a special platform for this. And also walk in pairs of clothes. They give mostly chocolate, and only girls. In addition to sweets, Japanese men receive other valuable gifts: perfume, accessories, and more. Signs of attention go to relatives, acquaintances — they are given the so-called "polite chocolate". Girls receive their analogue of valentines in a month, on March 14th.
Saudi Arabia, Iran and some other Islamic countries
The celebration of Valentine's Day is officially prohibited. However, for sure there is an acceptable alternative for local customs and no less bright alternative.
What to give for Valentine's Day
The following items are in the top of successful gifts:
- Valentine cards
- flowers in pots
- soft toys
- Teddy bears
- sparkling wines
- decorations, bijouterie
- accessories for men
- accessories for women
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