Saturday, 8 February 2014

Valentine’s Day

Saint Valentine's Day is celebrated in many countries around the world on the 14th February each year.

Folk traditions

While the custom of sending cards, flowers, chocolates and other gifts originated, Valentine's Day still remains connected with various regional customs.

In Norfolk, a character called 'Jack' Valentine knocks on the rear door of houses leaving sweets and presents for children. Although he was leaving treats, many children were scared of this mystical person.

In Slovenia, Saint Valentine or ’Zdravko’ was one of the saints of spring, the saint of good health and the patron of beekeepers and pilgrims. It is also said that birds propose to each other or marry on Valentine’s day.

In South Korea women give chocolate to men on the 14th February, and men give non-chocolate candy to women on the 14th March (White Day). On the 14th April (Black Day), those who did not receive anything on the 14th February or March go to a Korean restaurant to eat black and "mourn" their single life.

Legend or history?

A popular hagiographical account of Saint Valentine of Rome states that he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire. According to legend, during his imprisonment, he healed the daughter of his jailer, Asterius. An embellishment to this story states that before his execution he wrote her a letter signed "Your Valentine" as a farewell.