An International Valentine’s Day

The origin of Valentine’s Day is in fact a dark one, consisting of brutality and death. However, over time people’s negative connotations for the day slowly disappeared, and their thoughts of darkness steadily altered to ones of light.

Although Valentine’s Day is known for love, the story behind it is a lot more dreary. Valentine’s Day is named after Saint Valentine, a Roman physician and priest. According to historians, Valentine became a martyr after he was brutally killed by the Roman Empire for marrying Christian couples and possibly attempting to convert Claudius II, the emperor. Valentine was executed in 269 C.E. Over 200 years later, Pope Gelasius I, a bishop who learned of Saint Valentine’s story through older members of his ministry, hosted “feast day” in remembrance of Valentine in 496 C.E.

As decades passed, the Valentine’s day feast transformed from remembering the death of a saint to focusing on those loved in the present. The original purpose of the feast day was to commemorate Saint Valentine, but with time, things changed. By 986 C.E., the Valentine feast day transformed into an event known for its matchmaking and for many women, fertility. It continued as such, growing more sophisticated as time went on. Sometime between 986 C.E. and 2017, people’s connotations of Valentine’s Day changed into something even more beautiful due to the fact that it was now known as a day of love.

Over the span of hundreds of years, Valentine’s Day had changed drastically and is now known as “the day of love.” Valentine’s Day tends to mean different things for various people. The definition of Valentine’s Day is different for everyone.

Valentine’s Day is a day celebrated by everybody, whether a person has a beloved one or not.  But what about internationally? How do other countries celebrate their Valentine’s Day? Or is it all just the same general idea? Valentine’s Day is an internationally known and celebrated holiday with a few tweaks with the date depending on the country.

In the United States, Valentine’s ay is celebrated through gift exchangement, sweet treats, tons of flowers (mainly red roses), and gooey hallmark cards. During all the Valentine’s Day chaos, money regulates in and out of stores. The U.S. makes about 18.2 billion dollars off Valentine’s day purchases. In the U.S. Valentine’s Day consists of three main colors: red, pink, and white. It has long been understood that red stands for love, war, and blood. But what about pink and white? According to the Celebrating Holidays Website , the color white symbolizes purity and the color pink represents the combination of both colors white and red. Pink serves as a reminder of how well the meanings of the colors work together to compliment each other.

Other countries, however, have different ideas of how Valentine’s Day is to be celebrated. China’s version of Valentine’s Day is called “Qixi Festival,” which means “The Night of Seven.” Instead of February 14, the Qixi Festival is celebrated in early august on the seventh day of the lunar moon. As tradition, chinese girls pray fodr good husbands and offer fruit and carve melons to Zhinu, the ancient goddess of love and relationships, to hear their intentions.

Like the U.S., both Japan and South Korea celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14, but instead of the women acquiring gifts, it’s the men who receive them. Women give gifts mainly consisting of chocolate. Japan and South Korea have two Valentine’s Days. The first day is on February 14 and is actually called Valentine’s Day. The other day is called “White Day” on March 14, a month later. There is no particular reason to why it was named White Day, but it is when the men return the favor by showering the women with flowers and chocolates.

Argentina, motherland of the Tango, also celebrates Valentine’s Day on February 14, but instead of two days they set aside a whole week called “Sweetness Week”. Sweetness Week is during the summer on July 13 and ends July 20. During Sweetness Week, friends and lovers exchange candies, kisses and more. The last day of Sweetness Week usually ends on “Friendship Day.”

Germany’s one and only Valentine’s Day is also on February 14 and celebrated much like how the U.S. celebrates their Valentine’s Day. They exchange gifts of flowers, chocolates, cards, and heart-shaped items, but there’s only one difference– pigs! In Germany pigs represent luck and lust. They can be given anyway a person sees fit. The pig gifts are miniature sculptures, pictures, or even actual pigs. One of the most popular valentine’s traditions done in Germany is the making of huge heart-shaped ginger cookies with hidden messages in them. Most including the common phrase, “Ich liebe dich” (I love you).

Taiwan, a country famous for its flowers, celebrates Valentine’s Day twice a year. They celebrate it on February 14 and July 7. Men are expected to give bouquets of flowers to their significant other. According to the Taiwan tradition, number and color of flowers portray an important message. A couple red roses represent an “only love,” while ninety-nine roses reveal “love forever.” Something that commonly happens on Valentine’s Day is marriage proposals, which would mean a hundred and eight red roses.

These countries all have at least one day contributed to love, and it goes to show how powerful a simple emotion can be. There’s no denying it, no matter which part of the world a person live in there is no escaping love, hope or passion. It’s always there, no matter the location. Though the idea of Valentine’s day originated from a dark time, it has changed the world in various ways. On Valentine’s Day, people are reminded of those they love and care about. “I think that everyone needs a reminder of why you love them or just that you love them,” said Ashley Tabron, english teacher.  Valentine’s Day gives them a release and the opportunity to reminisce and celebrate the love they have in their hearts.


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