As you all know, (Saint) Valentine’s Day is a lovers’ day and is celebrated on 14 February. This festivity does not only take place in the West and not all countries celebrate it in the same way:
– In Japan, for example, they have two days: On February 14 girls give chocolates to boys, and young ladies give their boss an ‘obligation’ present. Then on March 14, which is called ‘White Day’, is when boys have to express their love to girls.
– In the US, teachers get more Valentine cards than anyone else… (ejem…)
– And in some South and Central American countries they celebrate this day as a Friends’ Day, which means that those students that feel uneasy talking about love can at least talk about friendship.
The origin of St Valentine’s Day is not clear. Here there are three stories about its possible origins:
– On February 14th our ancestors believed that birds began to choose their partners and to mate on this day. Even today, some people believe that the first bird you see on this day will foretell who your future husband is going to be… (I wonder how…)
– Valentine was a Roman priest who was jailed in the third century by the Emperor Claudius II for marrying young couples by organizing secret Christian weddings. Claudius had made a law against this because he thought that soldiers who were single were better fighters than married ones. While he was in jail, Valentine fell in love with the jailer’s blind daughter. He managed to restore her sight and before his execution he left her a message which said: ‘From your Valentine’ … (And this is the sentence you can commonly read on the English cards given on this day).
– The Romans had a spring festival called Lupercalia on February 15th, when young people chose partners and gave each other presents (sometimes the names of young men and women were mixed in a box and then drawn like a lottery to make couples!). This pagan celebration later became a Christian festival in honour of Saint Valentine on February 14th.
(Source: The Book of Days. Cambridge)
Dear students and friends: Let me dedicate this card to my Valentine today 😉