In the United States, February 14th is a well-known day—it’s Valentine’s Day! While some people love that there’s a day dedicated to love, others aren’t quite as excited about a day that’s become a big deal because companies want people to buy more things. Whether you’re for or against Valentine’s Day, we thought it might be fun to share the history behind this lovable holiday.
How Did It All Begin?
It’s uncertain where it actually began, but some believe that Valentine’s Day can be traced back to ancient Roman times. It’s believed that Valentine’s Day was derived from the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, where men would sacrifice a goat and a dog and then whip (yes, we said whip!) women with the hides of these animals. You’d think that women would run far, far away from these festivals, but it was quite the opposite. Women believed that this whipping would make them fertile. After this ceremony was performed, men would draw the name of a woman from a jar and be paired up with that woman for the remainder of the festival. Others believe that our modern Valentine’s Day was derived from two men named Valentine who were executed on two separate occasions, both on February 14th. These two men were later sainted by the Catholic Church and honored with St. Valentine’s Day. Still others believe that the roots of Valentine’s Day come from the Normans who celebrated Galatin’s Day, or the lover of women day, and at some point in history was confused with St. Valentine’s Day because of the closeness in the way the two days sound. While all of these stories may or may not be true, Shakespeare has been given credit for modernizing Valentine’s Day into what it is today—a day of love. Whereas greeting card company Hallmark has been credited for turning Valentine’s Day into one of the most profitable days for businesses around the world. Last year alone, consumers spent approximately $20.7 billion on Valentine’s Day. This year, it’s expected that consumers will spend over $27 billion.
Now whether you’re for or against Valentine’s Day (there’s a debate here between Xyza co-founders Sapna and Joann, by the way!), one thing’s for sure—every day is a good day to show people how much you love them.
How do countries around the world celebrate Valentine’s Day?
In Japan, a woman will make chocolate and give it to the man she is interested in on Valentine’s Day. If he is also interested in the woman, he will buy white chocolates and give it to the woman a month later on March 14th.
Men carve a wooden spoon and send it to the one they love.
In South Africa, there is one big wedding every February 14th. Women who are not getting married but are in a relationship will write the name of their loved one and pin it on their sleeve.
Brazilians celebrate Lovers Day on June 12th. Loved ones exchange chocolates and cards, and they share a romantic meal similar to the traditions of Valentine’s Day in the US, but there are also large festivals and concerts to help celebrate the holiday.
In the United States, roses are often the flower of choice on Valentine’s Day, but in Denmark, it’s snowdrops. Another sweet tradition? A man will write an anonymous love poem to the woman he loves. If the woman can guess who the man is, he will send her an Easter egg between Valentine’s Day and Easter.
South Korea and China:
While these countries might both celebrate Valentine’s Day, it’s “Black Day” in South Korea and “Single’s Day” in China that has people who are single (that’s people not in a relationship) celebrating the love for themselves! On April 14th, or Black Day in South Korea, people eat a special noodle cooked in black sauce. On November 11th or 11/11 (get it?), single people in China celebrate their single status by treating themselves well on that day.
Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day? If so, how?