Every February 14, across Australia and in other places around the world, chocolate, flowers and other exotic gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. Who is this mysterious saint, and where did these quirky traditions arise from? How as travelers are we supposed to deal with all this consumerism? Easy!Let us guide you down the path of love.
Let’s start off with a walk down history lane. As travelers we like to walk.
The history of Valentine’s Day–and the story of its patron saint–is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?
While some believe that 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–others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Celebrated at the ides of February, or February 15, Lupercalia was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.
Ever wondered how our friends around the world celebrate this day of love?
In Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated around the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine’s Day greetings.
In Japan it is the ladies responsibility to woo the man on Feb 14th. To truly show your affection a hand made chocolate gift is given to show true love and suggest that he is the One. White Day supposedly start in 1936 by a confectionery company. Go figure! The men don’t return the favor until White Day, a type of “answer day” to Valentine’s Day, which is on March
In Saudi Arabia Valentine’s day is banned. Everything related to this super serious day is prohibited – chocolate, flowers, gifts…even the color red! It’s outlawed based on a fatwa, or Islamic legal ruling, against pagan holidays.
In India we celebrate Childrens Day on November 14. Surpringly 9 months after Valentine’s Day. I’m sure you can work out why.
Our American friends spend about $277mil on Valentine’s Day Cards. Seconded only to Christmas cards. Whoa that’s a lotta love going around.
Mexico did a lip smackingly good job, in 2010, breaking the world record for the biggest group kiss. 39, 987 people joined in.
Hawaii was nice enough to celebrate V-Day in 1779 by killing Captain James Cook ( this fellow “discovered Australia). Surely that made for an interesting feast.
Columbia and Ecuador produce around 90% of the red roses for the American market on this one special day.
So what will we be doing for the big V-Day? Nothing out of the ordinary. Every day is a good day to buy Jeanette a present! If you want to buy your special some0ne something special for the big V-day why not go out and enjoy each others company. Over a glass or two of champagne.
Let us know how you celebrate on February 14th!