Valentine’s Day can be celebrated around the world today, but traditions are often very different – and sometimes have nothing to do with romance at all.
While in Europe it’s all about couples feeling good, the US is more about schoolchildren celebrating friendship, while in Japan women give chocolates to their superiors.
However, in Muslim countries it has a subversive advantage.
From the pagan festival to the marketing ploy, let’s check out the rich Valentine’s Day mix:
– Everything whipped –
Valentine’s Day was once a pretty violent affair. It is believed that its origins date back to the Roman purification festival of Lupercalia, when naked young men whipped young women to make them more fertile.
Over the centuries, this resulted in only slightly less noisy lotteries, in which young men were matched with young women at medieval carnivals.
– martyr to his heart –
The day is, of course, also associated with the cult of the Roman Christian martyr Saint Valentine from the third century.
He literally lost his head over love – beheaded on the orders of Emperor Claudius, they say, because he had secretly carried out weddings.
According to legend, Valentine healed the blind daughter of his prison inmate and the day before his death she received a note with the signature “Your Valentine”.
Unfortunately there was no happy ending.
– love letters –
In England, the message exchange known as “Valentine’s Day” began on February 14th with the rise of the postal service in the 19th century, with the sender often signing “Your Valentine”.
– love spoon –
They did things differently across the border in Wales. Their love festival takes place on January 25th and celebrates a fourth-century Welsh princess named Saint Dwynwen.
Dwynwen was unlucky in love and sought solace in religion. He became a nun and prayed that others would find true love.
Gifts traditionally exchanged between lovers and potential lovers include carved Welsh wooden love spoons.
– My darling Galentine –
The celebration took a commercial turn in the United States in the mid-19th century with the invention of mass-produced greeting cards.
The organizers quickly came up with the idea of expanding the “tradition” beyond the lovers. School children are now expected to bring a Valentine’s card for each of their classmates.
Today it has grown to be a $ 20 billion business and even spawned Galentine’s Day, when “girls” go out together and have waffles.
– heat shock –
The Japanese Valentine’s Day tradition began after World War II, when confectionery makers began to gasp for women to offer chocolates to their bosses and friends on February 14th.
Half a century later, the practice has begun an annual ritual in which millions of Japanese women give chocolates or ganaches to show affection, friendship, or professional respect.
But no chocolate is enough. The “Giri Choco”, for example, are standard chocolates reserved for work colleagues, while the superior “Honmei Choco” are the symbol of true love.
Not in public
However, Valentine’s Day is less popular in some parts of the world as some Muslim countries, including Pakistan, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Saudi Arabia, have a bad opinion.
Although the day is very popular in Iran, people have to show their affection modestly. The sale of heart-shaped balloons, for example, is rather frowned upon by traditionalists.