What is Valentine’s Day?
Valentine’s Day is celebrated on the 14th February and is named after St Valentine. The Saint’s exact identity is disputed but everyone agrees that he is the godfather of modern day love. The main reason for the confusion is that it’s believed that there were several “Valentine” men upon whom the stories are based.
Who Were These Men?
There was St Valentine of Rome who helped Roman soldiers to marry when they were forbidden to do so by the anti-Christian Emperor Claudius II. There was also a Bishop Valentine who was imprisoned, tortured and eventually beheaded on February 14th 269 AD. Nevertheless, whoever he was, St Valentine has become the patron saint of lovers.
How is Valentine’s Day Celebrated?
Valentine’s Day is a very well-established holiday in the UK. Bunches of flowers are bought by the dozen and restaurants are overrun with couples whispering sweet nothings! But how is it celebrated around the world?
In Germany couples give each other pig figurines and pictures on Valentine’s Day as the pig is a symbol of luck and lust. South Korean women give chocolate to the men in their lives. In Denmark friends and sweethearts exchange pressed snowdrops whilst in Italy they exchange Baci Perugina, which are small, chocolate-covered hazelnuts wrapped with a romantic quote. In Finland and Estonia the 14th February is called ‘Friend’s Day’. South African women pin the names of their love interests on their shirtsleeves.
We love the Finnish idea of 14th February being a day to celebrate friendship. What would you do to show your best friend how much they mean to you?