The day is celebrated by Christians and is observed on 14th of February each year. It is also known as Feast of Saint Valentine or Saint Valentine’s Day. In many countries around the globe it is celebrated however, it is not a public holiday in many countries. The liturgical celebration of this day is done to honor Valentinus, one or more early Christian saints and there have been many stories related to martyrdom for those Valentines of 14th February. According to the concept given by a lot of those stories, Saint Valentine was imprisoned for the act of performing weddings of the soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering the Christians persecuted under the rule of Roman Empire. In accordance with one of these stories he healed one of the daughter of his jailer during his imprisonment and before his execution he wrote a letter to her signing “Your Valentine” for a final farewell.
First, the day was associated with love and romance in the High Middle Ages when courtly love was in its prime. Then in 18th century it was a tradition that on this day the lovers express their love for each other with flowers and confectionery with greetings in the continent of Europe. Then there were Saint Valentine’s Key as a symbolic representation to unlock the heart of the person who gives it to the other. The Key was also given to children to ward off epilepsy and this practice was known as Saint Valentine’s Malady. The symbols associated with this day include doves, hearts and Cupids and the mass production of greeting cards was initiated in 19th century.
According to some legend Saint Valentine would cut hearts out from parchment and give these to the soldiers in order to remind them of their vows and the love of God due to which the use of hearts is very much widespread. It is also assumed that Saint Valentine use to wear Amethyst ring which is accustomed to be worn by the Christian bishops with an engraved cupid image, which was legalized symbol of love under Roman Empire. Probably this is why Amethyst has been associated with February as a birthstone for the people who are born in this month. While according to some of the folk traditions of Europe, Saint Valentine appears to have some association with the awaited arrival of spring. Some associate this day with the Purification of Mary and connect it with pure love.
However, the trend of chocolates, gifts and flowers started from United Kingdom. In Norfolk Jack Valentine, a supposed character knocks the rear doors and leaves gifts and sweets for the children, though the children were more scared to this character due to his mystical nature. In Slovenia, it is assumed that on 14th February the trees and plants start to grow and it is celebrated as the day on which the works in the vineyard starts. It is also believed that birds propose and marry each other on this day. Only in the recent times Valentine’s Day has been celebrated as the day of love, as per the tradition the day of love was celebrated on 12th March and was known as Saint Gregory’s Day. On 22nd February, Saint Vincent’s Day was also accustomed to be celebrated as the day of love.
Despite many claims by various authors there is no connection between rites of ancient Roman festival and Saint Valentine’s Day. The celebration had no association with love and romance until the poetry of Chaucer regarding Valentines of 14th century. The prime link of this day was with growth and spring season and the holidays were devoted to this ideology there was nothing about romantic love that had anything to do with the Saints called Valentinus. There has been some connections but with more traits of sacrifice than romance and love. In the ancient Athenian calender the month of Gamelion was the time of sacred marriage between Zeus and Hera and this month was from mid January to mid February. In ancient Rome, Lupercalia was the festival celebrated from 13th to 15th February and was associated with archaic rite related with fertility and later on the festival of Juno Februa took over from Lupercalia.