Valentine’s Day traditions around the world

valentine day

Unusual Valentine’s Day traditions around the world

Many countries celebrate Valentine’s Day.  Whilst in the UK we tend to buy cards, flowers and chocolates for our Valentines, other countries have other Valentine’s Day traditions to show their love to their Valentine. Continue reading

Alternative Valentines Day Ideas

Alternative Valentines Day Ideas to do with your Valentine.

If you would like to steer clear of the usual flowers, chocolates and dinner on Valentines Day, here are some alternative Valentines Day ideas to try.

If you are a creative person why not paint or draw your Valentine a picture.  Maybe of them or someone or something close to them.  If you are a budding writer why not pen a romantic poem about them.  If cooking is your forte then why not bake a delicious cake or cookies.  With just a little time and effort you could give your Valentine a very personal and thoughtful gift they will love.

Take your Valentine to a comedy show.  The British Museum has The Gentlemen of Leisure presenting a cultural comedy gallery tour. This award-winning double act The Gentlemen of Leisure present a hilarious, cultural and novel insight into some of the Museum’s most famous objects.  There are three performances on Friday 14th February book your tickets through the British Museum website.

Ice Skating!  Whether you can skate or not this is a great evening out.  Lots of hand-holding and closeness as you skate/fall over!  Most towns are within a short driving distance of an ice rink.

For the adventurous Valentine, you could try a couples’ bungee jump.  Strap yourself to your loved one and leap off, arm in arm, together.  There are a great many bungee locations.  Lots of on-line gift companies offer the couples bungee jumping, a quick search on the internet should find one near you.

Try something new.  Valentines Day should be a positive memorable experience so how about trying something new together.  Try to step outside of your comfort zone and try something neither of you has tried before.  You can have a great time bonding over the experience if you enjoy it or not!

alternative valentines day ideas

If you enjoyed reading Alternative Valentines Day Ideas you may like:

Valentine’s Facts, Traditions and Trivia and The History of St Valentine’s Day

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The History of St Valentines Day

What is the history of St Valentines Day

While the history of St Valentines Day and its name are not completely clear, the details that we know to be true only add to our fascination with this mysterious and beloved occasion. For centuries February has been synonymous with love and romance and its central component, St Valentines Day, includes elements of ancient Roman, as well as a Christian tradition. However, this renowned day’s namesake is someone who is virtually unknown to many and mystifying to others.

The Saints

It is somewhat difficult to depict Saint Valentine or comprehend his entire significance in the history of St Valentines Day because research indicates that the Catholic Church acknowledges no less than three different saints by the name of Valentine or Valentinus, The History of St Valentine's Dayany of which could be credited as playing a part in the history of St Valentine’s Day. Additionally, there are various other notable individuals who have also been linked to the holiday.

According to one legend regarding the history of St Valentines Day, a third-century Roman priest by the name of Valentine was discontent with an unjust decree enacted by Emperor Claudius II. The emperor’s ruling was that wives and families were a distraction to soldiers and therefore marriage should be outlawed for young men. Ignoring this senseless law, Valentine secretly continued to perform marriages for young couples. Unfortunately, Claudius learned of these covert ceremonies and ordered Valentine be put to death for his defiance. If this tale is true, then the history of St Valentine’s Day rests with the dark fate of this well-meaning priest.

Conversely, some argue that the day’s name pays homage to a man who was murdered for his efforts to aid Christians in fleeing from the violent and deplorable conditions of Roman prisons while others contend that the history of St Valentines Day relates to a young prisoner, named Valentine, who sent the first improvised Valentine to his beloved. The story speculates that the young Valentine was involved with the jailor’s daughter and she would visit him regularly at the prison. Before his execution, he wrote one last letter to her and signed with the now-famous expression, “From your Valentine.”

Whatever its origin, St Valentine’s Day has been a part of American culture since the early 1700s, when hand-made Valentines The History of St Valentine's Daygreetings were given as a token of love for someone special. This fashion continued until Esther A. Howland, lovingly referred to as “Mother of the Valentine,” introduced the first commercially available valentines in the 1840s. Adorned with real lace, ribbons and colourful pictures, Howland’s creations were the desire of sweethearts everywhere.

February 14 is St. Valentine’s Day

Contrary to what some believe, St Valentines Day is not only special in the United States; France, Mexico, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom are also among the countries that take part in the festivities. The date is universal, but the debate surrounding the reason why February 14 is St. Valentine’s Day continues.

Some speculate that St Valentines Day became a mid-February celebration as a Christian alternative to the pagan celebration of Lupercalia, a fertility festival tribute to Rome’s god of agriculture and founders. The festival would include the ritualistic sacrifice of animals followed by the ceremonious anointing of bloody animal hide against the skin of women who hoped to conceive a child, as it was believed that this practice could improve fertility. The same custom was followed in the village’s fields, anticipating similarly fruitful results for the year’s harvest. Concluding the festival, all of the young women would put their names into an urn to be selected by the city’s bachelors, at which time the couple would be paired for a year. Many of the couples chose to marry following this. The festival was deemed “un-Christian” at the end of the 5th century and Pope Gelasius declared St Valentine’s Day be celebrated on February 14.

What it really means

Another popular theory was that citizens of England and France believed that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, thus it should be a day for love and romance. Whether either assumption is true remains uncertain, but what is certain is that whatever the history of St. Valentines Day it is a day when we can remind our friends and lovers how much they mean to us. What a magnificent day!

Related Articles: Alternative Valentines Day Ideas and Valentines Facts, Traditions and Trivia

Main Image courtesy of anitahart’s Photostream

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