Valentine’s day is largely celebrated in almost all countries. Some say that it is just an excuse to get another gift while others really enjoy it. During Valentine’s day, an estimated 19.6 billion dollars is spent. So what is this expensive holiday?
Valentine’s Day, also known as Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentines, is celebrated on February 14. It is a festival to celebrate romantic love, friendship, and admiration.
There are many ways you can celebrate Valentine’s day. Some celebrate it by making DIY gifts and cards, buying jewelry or gifts, or having romantic dinner plans. Some celebrate it by spending time with their loved ones, and for others, Valentine’s day is just any other day on the calendar.
Why is Valentine’s Day celebrated?
The true story behind this holiday is somewhat a mystery, as historians find themselves arguing over different theories from which the present-day holiday takes inspiration.
The holiday gets its name after St. Valentine, but the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, and they were all martyrs.
According to one legend, Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. Once Emperor Claudius II decided that single soldiers are better than married ones he banned all marriage. Valentine thought that was not fair so he defied Emperor Cladius II and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. But unfortunately, Valentine’s actions were soon revealed and Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
Others insist that the real St. Valentine was Saint Valentine of Terni who was a bishop. He was also beheaded by Claudius II outside Rome.
There are some other theories that suggest that Valentine could have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured.
Even though the truth behind the legends about St.Valentine is quite murky, the stories all make him sound like a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure.
According to one theory, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial–which probably occurred around A.D. 270, Some don’t agree with that and claim that the Christian church may have chosen to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia, which was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.
At the beginning of the festival, members of the Luperci, which was the order of the Roman priests, would gather at a sacred cave where it was believed that the founder of Rome, Romulus, and Remus, have been cared for by a she-wolf or Lupa while they were infants. The priests would then sacrifice a goat and a dog. The goat was sacrificed for fertility and the dog for purification. Next, they would make the goat’s hide into strips, dip them into the sacrificial blood, taking them to the streets, gently slapping both women and crop fields with it. Roman women weren’t afraid, they were glad to take the touch of the hides because it was believed that it will make them more fertile in the following year.
After that, all women would place their names in a big urn. Then the city’s bachelors would pick names out of the urn, and they would have to spend a year with whoever’s name they picked out. These matches would often end with a marriage.
Lupercalia survived for a while after the rise of Christianity but ended up being outlawed because it was “un-Christian” at the end of the 5th century. The Pope then declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day became associated with love much later after it was declared. During the Middle Ages in Europe, it was believed that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance.
The first person to record St. Valentine’s Day as a day of romantic celebration was an English poet Geoffrey Chaucer in 1375 in his poem “Parliament of Foules,” writing, “For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day / Whan every foul cometh there to choose his mate.”
Even though Valentine’s greeting was popular in the Middle Ages, there were no written Valentine’s until after 1400. The oldest known Valentine’s that still exists today is a poem written by Charles Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in 1415.
Cupid is a common character portrayed on Valentine’s Day cards as a naked, chubby child launching arrows of love at unsuspecting lovers. This isn’t just some made-up character, Cupid has his roots in Greek mythology as Eros, the Greek god of love. Some believe that he is the son of Nyx and Erebus, some believe that his parents are Aphrodite and Ares, and others think that he is the child of Iris and Zephyrus or even Aphrodite and Zeus.
Judging by the poems of the Greek Archaic poets, Eros was a handsome immortal who played with the emotions of Gods and men. He used golden arrows to stirrup love. He began to be portrayed as a mischievous, chubby child during the Hellenistic period.
By the 1750s it was common for friends and lovers to exchange small symbols of affection or handwritten notes. By 1900 printed cards started to replace hand-written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Because the 1900s were a time when showing emotions was discouraged, ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions. The rise in popularity of sending Valentine’s day cards was also due to the fact that postage rates became cheaper.
It is believed that Americans started exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. Esther A. Howland, also known as “Mother of the Valentine” was the first person to begin selling mass-produced valentines in America. She made creative cards with real lace, ribbons, and colorful pictures. Today around 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, which makes Valentine’s day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year, right after Christmas. 85% of all valentines are purchased by women.
How do you celebrate Valentine’s day?
How you celebrate Valentine’s day depends on what you prefer, there is no one-size-fits-all. Some people don’t celebrate it, others make a big deal out of it, and there are those that celebrate it but aren’t crazy about it. Don’t feel bad if you want to do something that others don’t find romantic, only you as a couple dictate what you find romantic.
You can celebrate Valentine’s day the way most people do, with dinner. For a lot of couples, this is a rare occasion to dress up and go somewhere fancy. You can go to the same place where you went on your first date and recreate it. If you prefer something more casual but still like the idea of having a meal together, you can prepare a picnic and relax in the sun, or cooked for your loved one and have a romantic dinner at home.
- Taking classes together
Maybe you have a common hobby, or you want to start a new one. Taking a class together is a great way to celebrate Valentine’s day, as it is something you do together, but it also allows you to grow and develop as a couple. You can take a cooking class that will help you prepare dinners together or a pottery class, or a yoga class.
- Staying at home
Even though staying at home doesn’t sound too romantic, if you are the kind of couple that has a hard time finding the time to just relax together, watch your favorite shows or just lay in bed, staying at home is a great idea for you. Use that time to catch up on your favorite show, or watch a movie, cook together, do whatever you want, and just enjoy each other’s company.
- Spa day
How often do you get to relax and get pampered with your loved one? If the answer is not often, this could be your way to celebrate Valentine’s day. You can schedule couples massages, facials, and other treatments at your local spa, or you could have one at home. Get some massage oil, face masks, bathrobes, and other things you think you will need and relax by massaging each other.
Examples of lovely gifts to your loved ones
Not all people like celebrating Valentine’s day with gifts. If you do like and need some ideas, keep reading. Not all gifts have to be expensive, but they all should be from the heart.
The most popular gifts for Valentine’s day are chocolates, flowers, ready-made cards, and perfume. While that is an appropriate gift for some people, others like something more personal and creative.
Here are some gift ideas for every budget.
1. Diy cards
Cards are a nice and simple way to show how you feel. The best thing about DIY cards is that you can probably make it with what you already have at home. They can be funny, personal, or a way for you to express your feelings.
To make a DIY Valentine’s card, fold some carton or hard paper in half. There are many ways you can go from there. One of the things you can do is drawing on it. Draw a heart, a kiss, or something that means a lot to you. You can glue glitter or collage on it.
You can make it funny by writing a corny joke inside, such as drawing an egg and writing “you crack me up”, or draw 2 berries and write “ I love you berry much”.
If you are thinking about giving jewelry to your better half, make sure it has some meaning. That way you show that you really care and not that you just bought the first thing you saw. It is really important to know if your loved one prefers gold or silver color.
You can get your significant other a necklace with the first letter of your name, or engrave the date of your anniversary. If your loved one likes horoscope a lot, you can get them a necklace with their zodiac sign.
Earrings are a nice gift as well but make sure to find out if and what kind of earrings your significant other likes.
The same goes for rings, some people don’t like wearing rings. If they do, it is a bit harder to find rings with some meaning, so at least try to figure out what style and design they like.
3. Box gift ideas
If you don’t have any idea what your loved one wants, maybe the perfect thing for you would be a sort of care package in a box. Get a box and fill it with their favorite things. They don’t have to be anything big or expensive. For example, you can get your significant other their favorite gum, shower gel, perfume, snacks, drinks, and so on. This gift will show them that you listen to them and know what their favorite things are.
Another twist on this idea is to get everything in their favorite color. It could be a bit harder to find their favorite things in that color though.
If your significant other has a favorite sports team or likes going to the theatre, or if their favorite band has a concert, you should think about getting them tickets for Valentine’s day. That way you are not just giving them the tickets but also giving them an opportunity to spend time with you doing something you usually wouldn’t do.
5. Date night ideas
If you are the kind of couple that has a hard time deciding where to go on dates, you can make a bucket list of date night ideas. You can write them on popsicle sticks and put them in a jar, that way you can let the chance decide where you are going, or you can just write them down as a list and pick the next date together.
6. Subscription boxes
Nowadays, subscriptions aren’t just for magazines. There are all kinds of subscriptions for food, snacks, coffee, drinks, tea, short stories, skincare, jewelry, wine, books, arts and crafts, perfumes, and so on. These subscriptions let your significant other discover new things every month. Say your loved one enjoys drinking coffee, you can give them the opportunity to try out new coffee brands and types. If your significant other likes trying out food from different counties, an international food subscription box will allow them to try food and snacks from all over the world.
7. A weekend away
With the rise of Airbnb now is the easiest time to travel away for a weekend on a budget. It doesn’t have to be somewhere far away, you can even spend a weekend together alone in the city where you live if you don’t spend a lot of alone time. You can fill the weekend with activities, or you can just spend it relaxing.
A great gift to give to your loved one is a personalized gift. If you have an inside joke you can put it on a mug or a shirt. That is also a great opportunity to make something they like but can’t find anywhere.
9. Something they want
When you’ve been together for a long time, it’s easy to have a hard time finding a gift for your partner, as you’ve already given them everything you can think of. The best thing to do in that case is to have an open conversation about what they want. Maybe there is something that your partner wants but wouldn’t buy for themselves because it’s expensive, or there is something they have been wanting for a while but they didn’t have the time to get it. Maybe they need a back massager, a bathtub tray, a night away from the kids, or a new speaker.
If your loved one prefers surprises, ask them to write more than one thing, that way they can’t be sure what they will get and there is still an element of surprise.