What is Valentine’s Day? Why do we celebrate Valentine’s Day?

Today Valentine’s Day is celebrated to spread and confess love especially one between lovers. Valentine’s Day is celebrated on the 14th of February each year. Valentine’s Day in 2018 fell on 14th February which was a Wednesday. Though not a federal holiday, the celebration is no less grand than any other. Valentine’s Day is said to have been adopted from both Christian and Roman roots.

The Roman festival is known as ‘Lupercalia’ which was a festival of fertility and the Christians’ celebration of St Valentine’s Day (a saint who was sentenced to death for marrying people) is the place from where this famous celebration is derived. February 14th is also considered to be the day that birds’ mating season starts.

People all over the world celebrate Valentine’s Day irrespective of colour, caste and religion. It is a day of love and purity. The most famous symbols of Valentine’s Day are the doves, lovebirds, cupid, hearts and roses. Each of these symbols have their own reason for becoming symbols of this day celebrated for love.

When is Valentine’s Day?

The following are the days on which 14th February has fallen and will fall in the coming future:

Year

Valentine’s Day

2017

Tuesday, 14th February

2018

Wednesday, 14th February

2019

Thursday, 14th February

2020

Friday, 14th February

History of Valentine’s Day

How is Saint Valentine related to the Celebration of Love?

Many Christian Saints were named Valentine, but one of them stood out. Saint Valentine, a soft and kind-hearted saint was given a death penalty for marrying people in secret after Claudius II banned the Roman soldiers from marrying.

Roughly around the end of 5th Century, Pope Gelasius declared that the 14th of February be celebrated in honour of St Valentine.

Valentine’s Day started being celebrated only after the 1300s and became the day that people celebrated love and romance. Around 15th Century the first Valentine letter was written, and at the end of the 17th Century the citizens of Great Britain made the giving and receiving of letters and cards a tradition and spread to the US as well.

In 1840s US come out with its Valentine’s Day Cards and people all over the world started celebrating this festival and sending out cards.

The festival of Lupercalia

Celebrated on February 15, Lupercalia was a pagan festival celebrating fertility, the Roman God Faunus and the founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus.

The festival was celebrated in the following way:

Some Roman priests gathered together at the cave where a she-wolf (Lupa) is said to have taken care of the two founders, Romulus and Remus. A goat and a dog were both sacrificed there.

The goat symbolised fertility, and the dog symbolized purity. The priests then skinned the goats and dipped their hide into the blood and went back to the village or town slapping both women and crops for fertility.

At around noon all the women made chits with their names on it and placed it in a big vessel or vase, and the men would pick one each and become a pair mostly ending in marriage.

Symbols related to Valentine’s Day

Doves and Lovebirds

These two birds are a very common symbol of Valentine’s Day. Birds are related to Valentine’s as it is believed to be the day that the birds mate. The two portray love, purity and innocence. Doves are loyal towards their partners and lovebirds are always seen sitting extremely close to one another.

Cupid

Cupid is the small angel-like person with a bow and arrow in his hand. He is believed to be extremely mischievous and to add to it the son of the Goddess of Love – Venus. The myth says that anyone who is hit by cupid’s arrow fell in love instantly with the person he/ she sees.

Love Knot

The love knot is an intertwining loop that symbolises that love is everlasting without a beginning or end. The origin of this symbol came from ancient Arabs when the women expressed their love through messages that they left by knotting carpets.

Hearts and Roses

Two hearts pierced in the middle by Cupid’s Arrow is a very famous symbol of Valentine’s Day and roses have been a tradition for years and have many myths attached to it. One myth being that the name rose is a jumbled up word for Eros- the God of Love.

Traditions of Valentine’s Day

  1. Couples living far away send each other cards and gifts
  2. People take their Valentine for a romantic dinner which is followed by presents and chocolates
  3. A proposal is also a widespread tradition on Valentine’s Day
  4. Making a scrapbook of the journey the couple has been on

Facts Related to Valentine’s Day

  1. Around 1 billion cards are sent around the world on Valentine’s Day
  2. The chocolate companies have a lot of business as this day sees almost 35 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate being bought around the world
  3. The flower business produces around 220 million roses
  4. American people spend a total of $20 million every year on gifts, cards and fancy dinners etc., on Valentine’s Day
  5. Finland celebrates this day as ‘Friends Day’ and cherishes their close friends
  6. As of 2017, Islamabad Court has banned the celebration of Valentine’s Day at public places in the country