February 14th has been celebrated as the day of love since the Middle Ages. Even if you’re not a romantic, you’ll be surprised to know that in many places across the globe, Valentine’s Day isn’t only about gifts and chocolates.
The Most Popular Story
We all know that 14th February is celebrated to commemorate the birthday of Saint Valentine who performed secret marriages at a time when it was prohibited in the Roman Empire. It was believed that marriages came in the way of making better soldiers. He was sent to jail for going against the law where he fell in love with the jailor’s daughter and sent her love letters signed as ‘from your Valentine’.
Why we send Valentine’s Day cards
Saint Valentine was a hit with children. He being a Christian landed in trouble with his Roman friends when he refused to worship their pagan Gods. He was thrown in jail and children used to send him notes (this explains the tradition of exchanging love letters that’s been substituted with text messages these days).
After a little peak into the history, let’s find out how this day is celebrated throughout the world today.
Can love be ‘spoon-fed’? In this case it looks possible. Welsh men express their love through intricately carved wooden spoons that are symbolic in nature. For instance, a spoon decorated with keys suggests the key to a man’s heart, wheels refer to the hard work he’s willing to do for his love and beads hint at the number of offspring and so on. The origin of this age-old custom of courting and marriage remains unclear. People believe that sailors who went on long voyages and stayed away from their loved ones for a long time resorted to this activity to kill time!
Denmark & Norway
Fill in the dots. No clues and definitely no cheating (a tough day for those who have many secret admirers). A local tradition called ‘Gaekkebrev’ is popular on Valentine’s Day. Men send funny little rhyming poems or love notes to women without revealing their names. The only clue is the number of dots representing the number of letters in the secret admirer’s name. If the recipient guesses the name correctly then she gets an Easter Egg on Easter. If not then she owes one to her secret admirer.
Love Birds! Well, here it is that literally. In Slovenia Saint Valentine is famously known as one of the patron saints of spring. There’s a Slovene proverb that St. Valentine brings the keys of roots. While this season marks the revival of plants and flowers, people also believe that birds propose to their beloved and get married on grassy fields.
If you’re in a dilemma as to whom should you choose as your valentine, then simply go to a field. Write the name of the suitors on a piece of paper, wrap it around a stone and throw. Go with the stone that travels farthest.
On Valentine’s Day, women write their phone numbers on oranges before throwing it in the closest river. Prince charming found Cindrella because of her shoes but now it’s oranges as women believe that their dream man would find it. The fruit vendors collect these and sell it in the market. This makes for a good case study for management students on anticipating the right buyers for their products.
Love is a drug so get high on this Valentine’s Day.