Annually, Ukraine and other world countries celebrate St. Valentine’s Day on February 14. The celebration in Ukraine was established at the beginning of the 90s and currently, this holiday is considered an extra reason for telling about feelings to a significant other.
History of the holiday
The provenance of Valentine's Day is shrouded in numerous legends and myths. According to one legend, Valentine was a priest and a doctor who served in the 3rd century in Rome. The then-reigning Emperor Claudius II believed that single men were better soldiers than family men. Therefore, the emperor forbade men to marry, and women and girls - to marry beloved men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, continued to continue to marry lovers secretly. When it was uncovered, Claudius ordered to execute him.
It is noted that while Valentine was in prison awaiting the execution, he met the daughter of the jailer and fell in love with the girl. Before his death, he claimed that he had written her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is being used to this day.
According to the second version, this holiday appeared in honor of patrician Valentine, who secretly performed a marriage ceremony for his servants and was detained with them for this. According to the legend, the detainees were sentenced to execution, but due to the fact that Valentine was from the upper class, he was able to avoid punishment. However, his servants, who were about to get married, were meant to be executed. Before the execution, Valentine wrote letters to his servants in the form of red hearts, meaning Christian love. The blind girl was supposed to pass the messages to the newlyweds, but unexpectedly Valentine himself came to the jail and persuaded the guard to let his servants go in exchange for his life. Before entering the arena of death, Valentine passed his last letter, sanctified by faith and kindness, to a blind girl who, after that, regained her sight and became a beauty. Valentine became a symbol of secret marriage ceremonies, which could be performed only as a sign of true love.
In 1969, the protector of lovers was removed from the calendar of saints as one whose historicity was questioned. However, in the modern calendars of the Roman Catholic Church, February 14 is marked as St. Valentine's Day.
Valentine’s card – the main attribute of holiday
Traditionally, on Valentine's Day, people give each other various delicacies in the form of a heart, flowers and little souvenirs. However, valentine’s cards, red roses, doves and cupids remain the unchangeable attributes of the holiday. It is believed that Charles, Duke of Orleans in 1415, wrote the first Valentine’s Day greeting, to his wife, while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. A few years later, King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to write a valentine card for Catherine of Valois.
It is noteworthy that the first valentines were available only to wealthy people since professional artists and poets created them. Later, books of poems were printed in Britain and lovers chose the best ones and copied them to a valentine. This was the start of the production of valentines on a commercial scale. This idea came from the American Esther Howland. In just a year, she sold postcards for $5,000.
By the way, valentine’s cards take second place in the number of sales in the world, second only to Christmas cards. Mostly, women buy valentines, men are more “specialized” in sweets, chocolates, and bouquets of roses. In this regard, pragmatic people consider Valentine's Day a grand marketing move.
Traditions and distinguishing features
Once, young women believed in belief: if a woman sees a robin this day, she is destined to marry a sailor; if a woman sees a sparrow, she is destined to marry a poor man but she will be happy with him; a goldfinch promised a husband-millionaire.
This day, women wake up early. It is considered that the first man who walks past home will be the intended bride.
In the medieval period, young men pulled out from the chalice pieces of paper with the prediction of the names of their future beloved and had it in the sleeve for a week.
In Poland, it is used to visit Poznań metropolitan area. Exactly there, according to the legend, the relics of St. Valentine are situated. Besides, it has the miracle-working icon of the saint.
In the U.S., it is used to congratulate not only the beloved but all relatives and friends. Earlier, there was also a tradition to present marzipans to significant others as it was luxury earlier. Confectioners also started to create sweets using this ingredient. The first sweet was red and white bonbons. Later, the boxes in the form of the heart appeared.
Interesting customs exist in Canada. According to the stories, earlier, a young woman had a right to propose a man only on February 14. If a man refused, he could be fined or even imprisoned.
In Japan, it is used to congratulate not women but women. On the eve of the holiday, special chocolate is sold; it is called honmei. Besides, the annual competition for best love confession is held in this country.
In Denmark, men send their girlfriends the valentine’s cards without signs. If a woman guesses who the addresser is, she has to send him a chocolate egg on Easter.
Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia, this holiday is banned and people who celebrate it are fined.
In some countries, St. Valentine’s Day has another meaning. In Germany, St. Valentine patronizes not beloved but people with mental disorders.
That is why; German people decorate hospitals with red ribbons – the symbol of this day. In Iceland, people light a bonfire in honor of Odin’s son – Váli.
Although, the origin of legends about Valentine is still unclear; all of them underline his compassionate, heroic and romantic figure.