Valentine’s Day is a holiday celebrated on February 14th that has its roots in ancient Roman times. It is a day to express love and affection, typically between romantic partners, through the exchange of cards, gifts, and other tokens of affection.
While the holiday has evolved over time and is celebrated in different ways around the world, it remains a significant cultural event that is often associated with romance and relationships. The history of Valentine’s Day begins in antiquity and has many different interpretations and iterations through time.
The History Of Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day’s meanings are somewhat disputed, but it’s believed to have originated in ancient Rome as a celebration of the god of fertility and love, Venus. During the middle ages, the holiday became associated with courtly love and chivalry, and by the 18th and 19th centuries, it had become a more commercialized holiday with the exchange of cards and gifts becoming more common.
As it is today, the old European folk traditions of Saint Valentine and, thus, St. Valentine’s Day, have gotten a bit muddled and modernized by what we understand as the expected customs connecting the day with true love – especially of the romantic sort. That doesn’t mean all of the tradition is lost, though there are still some lingering echoes of the day’s connotations with the early advents of springtime.
Association With Springtime
Most of us, when we picture Valentine’s Day splendor, envision sending our loved ones, both platonic and otherwise, cards, lovely flowers, tasty chocolates, and other gifts both small and extravagant. These are often associated with early spring in the folk tradition, which is a leftover from the earliest roots of the holiday.
In Slovenia, Saint Valentine, or Zdravko, was one of the saints that represented spring. Spring is a time when plants and flowers begin to grow and is also associated with good health. Spring is often associated with love and romance.
This is also said to be a time when birds propose to each other or get married – another way to link this back to the romantic connotation we have with the day today. A proverb in Slovenia states that “Saint Valentine brings the keys of roots,” highlighting the connection between the holiday and the start of the growing season.
In addition to its association with the start of springtime, Valentine’s Day in Slovenia has also recently become a day to celebrate love and affection between romantic partners. However, this has not always been the case.
In the past, the feelings and gestures of love were celebrated on March 12th (Saint Gregory’s day) or, sometimes, February 22nd (Saint Vincent’s Day), and the patron saint of love, at the time, was Saint Anthony, whose was celebrated on June 13th. It is only in more recent times that Valentine’s Day has come to be widely recognized as a holiday to celebrate love.
Today, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in many countries around the world, with different customs and traditions emerging in different cultures. In some parts of the world, it is a more low-key holiday, while in others see it as an elaborate celebration worthy of great aplomb. It is often seen as a time to show appreciation for one’s partner and to reaffirm one’s commitment to the relationship.
In England, Valentine’s Day is still loosely connected with some regional customs. In the area of Norfolk, it’s told that a person named ‘Jack’ Valentine knocks on the rear door of people’s houses, where he’ll leaves treats and small gifts for the children living there.
Valentine’s Day remains a significant cultural event that is celebrated by people around the world. Whether it is a small gesture of affection or a grand romantic gesture, the holiday is a chance to express love and appreciation for those we care about.