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Did you ever wonder what is the history of Valentine's Day? We have some interesting facts lined up for the curious you!
Did you ever wonder what is the history of Valentine’s Day? We have some answers!
February 14th is nearing. All over the world on this day couples celebrate Valentine’s Day. A holiday is also declared on the occasion of Valentine’s Day in some countries, following the centuries-old traditions and customs.
Although many people celebrate this day, very few people know about the origin of the day and many interesting facts. Today we will know about some such forgotten history!
‘Love’, the word, is easily associated with everyone’s instincts. Because since birth, people grow up around this love.
Many people like me say that the need for love day? Let every day be a love day. A little research can be seen, it also has an old history? Why is this ‘Valentine’s Day’? And when did this day start? Who was Valentine?
To find the answers to these questions, we have to go back in history for a few centuries. The story of the beginning of this day is also very colourful. There are many stories about Valentine’s Day. Today I will introduce everyone with the most common story of Valentine’s Day
First, let’s know where this Valentine’s Day came from. To know that, we have to go back another 600 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. At that time, a pagan community used to celebrate a festival called Lupercalia.
The main aim of the festival was to eliminate infertility in women. Pigs, cows or goats were sacrificed, and their blood was smeared on the women. Later, the women’s names were written in a box and their male partners were chosen. Today’s Valentine’s Day comes from that festival
For non-Christian religions, Valentine’s Day is simply ‘Lovers’ Day‘, but Catholics consider this day as Saint Valentine’s Day. Although there are several legends associated with saints named ‘Valentine’, among most of them, Saint Valentine, who is known to most of us, is a Christian priest during the reign of Emperor Claudius II of Rome.
Claudius II, a ruler of Rome in the third century AD, passed a law prohibiting young men from marrying. This is because he decided that bachelors were better suited as soldiers because the hearts of unmarried men would not be turned away by their wives or children.
Priest Valentine, who publicly declared that this law was unfair, secretly married young men and women in his church. After this action of the priest Valentine was discovered, he was sentenced to death by Emperor Claudius.
According to another legend, he was sentenced to death for helping the Romans who were imprisoned for converting to Christianity escape. According to another legend, when the priest Valentine was incarcerated, some say that he sent the world’s first ‘Valentine’ greeting card to the jailer’s daughter. He signed it as “Your Valentine” (‘Your Valentine’).
Artist’s drawing of St. Valentine’s; Image Source: wikimedia.org
What was the world’s first Valentine poem? Historians have found out amazing information. The first Valentine poem was written in the most eight-town place.
Sitting in a prison. He wrote the poem to his second wife while Charles, Duke of Orleans, was imprisoned at the Battle of Agincourt. 21-year-old Charles, however, could not see his wife’s expression as she read the poem. Because he was in jail for 20 years. But that poem is considered as the first Valentine poem.
Chaucer’s Related Poems Class (Poets Online Blog)
Valentine’s Day was not associated with ‘love’ in the early days. Its connection with romantic love was created in a poem by Geoffrey Chaucer, who lived in England in the 14th century. Readers who read the poem understood that Chaucer had introduced Valentine’s Day as the day of lovers.
Gentlemen’s Valentine Writer (Tower Project Blog)
In the late 18th century, around 1797, a publisher in England published a book called The Young Man’s Valentine Writer. The book consisted of emotional poems that could be used by lovers who did not have the ability to write poems for their girlfriends. After that, the publication of those books for gentlemen and ladies etc. started.
By the 19th century, it became a common practice to exchange love on Valentine’s Day, and by the 20th century, not only love, but also gifts in heart-shaped packages, chocolates, and roses had become fashionable.
Valentine’s Day means a card or a gift with love. But what if a hateful card arrived at your home on February 14?
It was first introduced in the Victorian era in the early 19th century. And it is named Vinegar Valentine. Vinegar Valentine cards usually contain mocking or insulting words rather than words of love. People sent vinegar valentines, mockingly for baldness or other physical features.
The whole thing was just fun, though. But some people could not digest the matter. In 1885, a man shot and killed his wife over a vinegar valentine. Many people even started committing suicide by getting vinegar Valentine. As a result, card companies stopped making Vinegar Valentines.
A card made in Vinegar Valentines; Image Source: Pinterest
Many people wear love symbols on their arms for Valentine’s Day. But where did this tradition actually come from? To know that, we have to go back to the time of Roman King Claudius.
Claudius believed that by marrying or settling down with a certain girl, soldiers would be trapped in Maya’s net, which would prevent them from giving their best in battle. So he banned marriage. And started a temporary couple. Every year, everyone changed their couple on a certain day.
And on that occasion, boys used to wear an armband with the name of their lover or the girl who would be their partner for a year, which had to be worn for a year or so. And from this custom, later the rule of wearing a love bracelet on the arm was introduced.
The Greek god Cupid is closely associated with love. According to ancient Greek mythology, Cupid is the god of love. However, this god known as Eros was the son of another Greek goddess, Aphrodite. He gave two arrows to his child, one of which was a symbol of love, the other of hatred.
According to mythology, if you are pierced by an arrow of love, you will be attracted to someone and fall in love. But Cupid was given an arrow by his mother Aphrodite, who actually played with people’s emotions. But still the mascot of Valentine’s Day is the baby Cupid holding an arrow.
Valentine’s Day is a celebration where Sri Lankans spend huge amounts of money on gifts, apart from major religious and cultural festivals like Vesak, New Year, Ramadan, and Christmas. The main reason for this is that love is not a need to ‘celebrate’. We feel that it is not an exaggeration to say that the vendors turn love into something to be ‘celebrated’ and sell it on one day a year.
On Valentine’s Day, many retailers are introducing ‘cheap’ package deals aimed at naive lovers. Flower shop owners introduce bouquets specially prepared for Valentine’s Day, and raise the price of a rose, which normally costs around 250 rupees, to around 500 rupees. ‘Valentine Special’ dishes are also added to the menu of the restaurants.
There is a perception in society that it is shameful not to celebrate Valentine’s Day, or to be single on that day, isn’t it?
Various companies, brands, make you buy what you don’t need and encourage you to celebrate something you don’t really need. The perception created by these trading companies is so powerful that lovers will give their girlfriends not only cards, roses, chocolates, but also diamond rings, expensive dinner plans, luxury trips and many other things on Valentine’s Day. Expected by society.
And if their boyfriend/girlfriend/partner/spouse fails to fulfil these social needs, some boyfriends/girlfriends/partner/spouse are also tempted to conclude that he/she/they have no love for him/her/them.
However, this is what we think; celebrating or not celebrating Valentine’s Day should not be a matter of pride or shame. Love does not need a separate day. Love does not have to be bought.
Deceived by trade tricks, why do you date others as need? Not just February 14, the whole year is yours if you really want to love.
Image Sources: author, Hinh Anh Cua Max, Billion photos, karandaev, Kesu01, and VSanandakrishna, via Getty Images, free and edited on CanvaPro
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