St. Valentine’s Day: What is this holiday about?

St. Valentine

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St. Valentine’s Day is relatively new in Ukraine – it became popular only in the 90s. Now it is widely celebrated without any reference to religion. Now the holiday is an additional reason to express feelings and add romance to the every-day life.

History of the holiday

The story of the origin 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 him executed.

It is said 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.

love letter

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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 legend, the detainees were sentenced to execution, but due to the fact that Valentine was of a higher class, he was able to avoid punishment. However, his servants who were about to get married were to be executed. Before the execution, Valentine wrote them letters 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 Roman Catholic Church, February 14 is marked as St. Valentine's Day.

Valentine’s card- the main attribute

Traditionally, on Valentine's Day, people give each other various goodies in the shape of hearts, flowers and small souvenirs. However, valentines, red roses, pigeons and cupids remain the invariable attribute 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.

Valentine card

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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, valentines 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.

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