Celebrating Love: the Origins and Traditions of Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14th in which you share treats, gifts, or
flowers with your loved ones. Everybody knows the significance of this day, but its origins
are not commonly known.

Valentine’s Day originated from an ancient holiday according to its Roman and Christian traditions. It is believed to have originated around A.D. 270. from Saint Valentine, a Roman priest who lived during the reign of Emperor Claudius II. During those days, the emperor prohibited marriage as he believed staying single contents the male soldiers. However, Saint Valentine secretly hosted marriages until he was discovered and imprisoned. During his imprisonment, he fell in love with the daughter of a jailer. Before his execution on February 14, 269 A.D., he sent her a letter signed, “From your Valentine.”

There are other legends about the origin of Valentine’s Day, such as a pagan celebration named Lupercalia, celebrated in mid-February. It is also known as a fertility festival devoted to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture. During the festival, men drew the names of women from an urn and paired them up during the festival or longer. Later, this tradition was replaced by exchanging love letters and gifts, which created modern-day Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day is celebrated in various ways around the world. For example, Valentine’s Day in Japan and South Korea is on February 14th, when women give chocolates to men. On the 14th of March, the vice versa applies for White Day. In Romania, Valentine’s Day is also known as “Dragobete” and is celebrated on the 24th of February. “Dragobete” is a mixture of Valentine’s Day and a celebration of spring. Young boys and girls go to the forest to gather some flowers, while others wash their faces in the snow, a custom believed to bring health and joy. In Brazil, Valentine’s Day, “Dia dos Namorados”, is celebrated on June 12th, the eve of Saint Anthony’s Day. Saint Anthony is known as the saint of marriage. Thus, this day celebrates love and marriage.

Every year on February 14th, people celebrate Valentine’s Day to show love and affection. Traditionally, couples exchange gifts, flowers, and love letters on this day. Although it is criticized for commercial exploitation, Valentine’s Day expresses the love and appreciation that one has toward another. Whether the Valentine’s Day celebration is grand or minor is insignificant. What matters is the reminder of love and connections in our lives the day gives.

By. Reea Kim