Valentine’s Day Around The World
Do you know how Valentine’s Day is celebrated around the world; or the true origin’s of this day? During the 3rd century in the Roman Empire, Emperor Claudius II banned traditional marriage in the military. He believed men fought better if they were not married. Saint Valentine was either a priest in Rome or a bishop in Terni, central Italy. He risked the Emperor’s wrath by standing up for traditional marriage, secretly marrying soldiers to their young brides. When Emperor Claudius demanded that Christians deny their consciences and worship pagan idols, Saint Valentine refused. Saint Valentine was arrested, dragged before the Prefect of Rome, and condemned him to die. So you see there is a deeper meaning to this day. Here is how it is celebrated around the world.
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In Britain, St Valentine’s Day is the common celebration that has people expressing love for their beloved with gifts like flowers, cards, chocolates and other special items. The traditions of the celebrations of Valentine’s Day differs in different regions of the country. One popular tradition followed in some areas of England is the baking of valentine buns with caraway seeds, plums, or raisins. This connection with fertility and the similar date of celebration are probably the reasons why many writers link the festival of Lupercalia with Valentine’s Day.
Composing verses is another extremely well-known Valentine’s Day custom of Britain. About a month earlier to Valentine’s Day, leading tabloids and reputed magazines publish sonnets and verses to commemorate the occassion. The tradition owes its origin to the British poets who have penned some of the best love poems and the majority of the romantic verses associated with Saint Valentine.
In Italy, Valentine’s Day was once celebrated as a Spring Festival. It used to be held outdoors and young people would gather in brightly decorated gardens to listen to music and the reading of poetry. This custom has been out of practice for a long time. In modern day Italy, Valentine’s Day is mainly seen as a holiday imported from US, just like Halloween, Father’s Day or Mother’s Day. The day is celebrated to profess love to their sweethearts the American way with gifts like perfume, chocolates, flowers, cards or gifts. The day is seen here exclusively for lovers, and hence, family members and friends do not exchange gifts. Couples usually go out for dinners at pizzeria or ristorante which ends with lovers’ giving gifts to each other.
In Denmark, February 14 is mainly a day for the young, a time for romance and exchanging of love tokens. Young people send a valentine card on this occasion. The Danish valentine card is famously known as a “lover’s card”. Valentine’s Day card shops all across the country are seen to be stacked up with colorful and musical lover’s cards containing lovely Valentine messages. Another Danish Valentine’s Day custom is to send pressed white flowers called Snowdrops to friends.
In Japan, Valentine’s Day is observed on February 14 but the celebration of love truly ends on March 14, known as the “White Day”. Women present chocolates or gifts to the men they love to express their feelings for them. Gift shops all over Japan pile their shelves with chocolate a month before Valentine’s Day. Most Japanese females also make the confection all by themselves.
In Korea, it is common to see gifting of chocolates and candies from females to males. Then on March 14, which is referred to as “White Day”, the favor is returned. Also, many young men confess their love for the first time to their sweethearts on this occasion.
And then there is April 14, also known as “Black Day”, which has been specially set aside for those young people who have no particular romantic partners. The curious name of the day probably comes from the fact that on this date, individuals who are not in any relationship get together and partake of Jajang noodles, which are black in color.
The German celebration of Valentine’s Day is nearly the same as elsewhere in the world. For Germans, this is a celebraton of love and a time to spend with their sweethearts. In Germany, it is customary for a young man to present his love with flowers on February 14.
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