February 14th is the day of lovers, Valentine's Day!
The Valentine's Day has become increasingly popular in Europe in recent years. Historically, it is named for one of the Christian martyrs of that name. Bishop Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni are often linked to this holiday.
Valentine of Rome is reported to have married young couples despite the prevailing ban on Christian rites. He also gave them flowers from his garden. He was beheaded on the orders of the Emperor on February 14th, 269.
Saint Valentine healed the crippled son of the rhetorician in Rome. He was then arrested, whipped and finally beheaded because he the Emperor's sacrifices to the gods.
Today we are no longer able to find out which Valentine inspired this holiday.
The custom of giving flowers on February 14th is still alive and well, but has been around for thousands of years. In ancient Rome, this day was dedicated to the goddess Juno, the patron saint of marriage and family. On this day, women were presented with flowers.
Valentine's Day is very popular especially in English-speaking countries, where it also has a long history. It all began with a poem by Geoffrey Chaucer, published 1383. Since the 15th century, couples in England gave each others little gifts. Then, in the Victorian era, lovers would send each other decorated cards.
When the English emigrated of to the United States, the tradition went with them. Later, US soldiers brought the tradition with them to the German-speaking world after the Second World War. It is still alive and well today, where resourceful florists and sweets manufacturers have embraced the holiday.
The popularity of this holiday has also made it to Asia. In Japan, women give men chocolates on Valentine's Day. Then, the following month, on White Day men give women chocolates. The holiday is gaining in popularity in Korea and China as well.
In some countries Valentine's Day is also forbidden. In Saudi Arabia, it is on the Prohibited List of Islamic law. The purchase of things that can be used as gifts for Valentine's Day was prohibited a few years ago. In Thailand the day is not prohibited per se, but since there is a legal ban on displays of affection in public, so it is not publicly celebrated.
Have you ever bought a Valentine's gift for your loved one? If not, why not browse our gift idea list for Valentine's Day?