St Valentine's Day
There are a lot of funny, in part strange things connected with this
romantic holiday, but what is evident, that it is still alive in the
hearts of millions of people from all the parts of the world! This
old and historic phrase "From your Valentine", a phrase
that has lived on, much to the delight of modern day florists, rose
growers and card companies and of course the loved ones
By EVGENIYA DONCHENKO
from Kiev, UKRAINE
On February 14, countries all around the world celebrate St Valentine's
Day or St. Valenini's Day as they would say it in Italian. Ever since
St. Valentine died on February 14, 269 AD, people have been giving
their loved ones Valentines and roses and other things to show their
feelings toward them. They do that because of what Valentine did.
Some people believe that when Valentine died, he left a note to the
jail keeper's daughter which was signed, "Your Valentine".
People have been doing that since then-- once they knew that St. Valentine
had done it.
Different authorities believe Valentine's Day began in various ways.
Some trace it to an ancient Roman festival called Lupercalia. Other
experts connect the event with one or more saints
of the early Christian church. Still others link it with an old English
belief that birds choose their mates on February 14. Valentine's Day
probably came from a combination of all three of those sources--plus
the belief that spring is a time for lovers.
The early Christian church had at least two saints named Valentine.
The one story, we have already mentioned, according to that story,
the Roman Emperor Claudius II in the A.D. 200's forbade young men
to marry. The emperor thought single men made better soldiers. A priest
named Valentine disobeyed the emperor's order and secretly married
young couples. Another story says Valentine was an early Christian
who made friends with many children. The Romans imprisoned him because
he refused to worship their gods.
St. Valentine around the world
Thanks to a concentrated marketing effort, Valentine's Day has emerged
in Japan and Korea as a day on which women, and less
commonly men, give candy, chocolate or flowers to people they like.
This has become an obligation for many women. Those who work in offices
end up giving chocolates to all their male co-workers, sometimes at
significant personal expense. This chocolate is known as giri-choko,
in Japan, from the words giri (obligation) and choko, a common short
version of chokoreto, meaning chocolate. This contrasts with honmei-choko,
which is given to a person someone loves or has a strong relationship
In Brazil, there is no Valentine's Day. Instead, "Dia
dos Namorados" (lit. "Day of the enamored", or "Boyfriend's/Girlfriend's
Day") is celebrated on June 12, when couples exchange gifts such
as lingerie, chocolates, cards and usually a flower bouquet. This
day is chosen probably because it is the day before the Saint Anthony's
day, known there as the marriage saint, when many single women perform
popular rituals in order to find a good husband (or nowadays, a boyfriend).
In Mexico, the "Dia del amor y la amistad" is celebrated
similar to Colombia but this one falls on February 14.
In the United States, Miss Esther Howland is given credit for
sending the first valentine cards. Commercial valentines were introduced
in the 1800's and now the date is very commercialized. The town of
Loveland, Colorado, does a large post office business around February
14. In the United States and Canada, children exchange valentines
with their friends. In some schools, the children hold a classroom
party and put all the valentines into a box they have decorated.
Great Britain on Valentine's Day Eve, women used to pin four
bay leaves to the corners of their pillow and eat eggs with salt replacing
the removed yokes. They believed they would then dream of their future
husbands. Also, women used to write their lover's names on paper and
put them on clay balls which they would drop into the water. They
believed that whichever paper came up first, that man would be their
Germans, Austrians and some Americans who share
this tradition give roses, chocolates etc to their wives. In other
countries such as Spain, the wives give gifts to the husband while
the husband gives flowers to his wife. In Italy, it is a tradition
to get engaged on Valentine's Day, February 14. Some shops sell china
baskets and cups which are filled with Valentine candies and tied
with ribbon which you can give as Valentine presents. In Slovenia,
a proverb says that St Valentine brings the keys of roots so on 14th
February plants and flowers start to grow. Valentine's Day has been
celebrated as the day when the first works in the vineyards and on
the fields commence. It is also said that birds propose to each other
or marry on that day. Nevertheless, it has only recently been celebrated
as the day of love. The day of love is traditionally 12 March, the
Saint Gregory's day. Another proverb says "Valentin - prvi spomladin"
(Valentine first saint of spring), as in some places (especially White
Carniola) Saint Valentine marks the beginning of spring.
In Ukraine, as usual there were a lot flowers, presents, little
nice cards, the queues before and on the14th, in order to find all
this. Of course, happy faces, smiles, kisses and... there were some
extra ordinary things. For example, well-known, in the mass-media
"so-called - icon of the orange revolution" Yulia Tymoshenko
(former prime-minister of Ukraine) and her Bloc (BYuT) held action
'Maidan's Heart Lives' on Maidan devoted to St. Valentine's Day. In
the center of Kiev (the capital of Ukraine) on Maidan all participants
formed huge heart, in the middle of which all lovers kissed, There
were several hundreds of participants. As it was raining, all participants
took red raincoats, flags and calendars in tents with BYuT logo. Even
if Kyiv City State Administration did not permit to hold mass meeting
on February Kyiv city party organization Batkivshchyna (Motherland)
declared about this on Tuesday, they organized this action.
Last, but not least, in Sevastopol the region of Crimea was made a
huge sandwich (the weight is about several tones!) with the red and
black caviar in the form of heart. This sandwich was taken in the
book of recodes and after that was widespread among the couples and
loved ones of the city.
As you can see, there are a lot of funny, in part strange things connected
with this romantic holiday, but what is evident, that it is still
alive in the hearts of millions of people from all the parts of the
world! This old and historic phrase "From your Valentine",
a phrase that has lived on, much to the delight of modern day florists,
rose growers and card companies and of course the loved ones!