Everything You Really Never Needed to Know About Valentine’s Day | Emily Gao

Everything You Really Never Needed to Know About Valentine’s Day

by: Emily Gao

 

Valentine's Day is a concept that has always intrigued me. Similar to birthdays, it is a random day that us humans have chosen to be extra lovey-dovey, kind, and compassionate towards someone that we care for.

Valentine’s Day is short for Saint Valentine’s Day. Its roots lie within Roman and Christian tradition and history. Who was Saint Valentine, and why does he get such a special, unique day?

According to History.com, there was a priest in the Catholic Church named Valentine during 3rd century Rome. This was during a time where the Emperors of Rome believed that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and “other distractions”. Emperor Claudius II went as far as to outlaw marriage for young men. Saint Valentine, who realized the injustice in such laws, performed marriages for the young lovers across Rome in secret. Unfortunately, he was found out by Emperor Claudius II and put to death for his actions.

Now the stories on who Saint Valentine was differ. There are other stories that point towards the direction of Saint Valentine being person who helped Christians escape from harsh Roman prisons. But, with the theme of Valentine’s Day being about love and all, I think I like the first story the best.

The actual celebration on February 14th is to commemorate the anniversary of Saint Valentine’s death. Or so told by many. Many others also believe that the Christian church placed this celebration in the middle of February in order to “Christianize” the celebration of Lupercalia, a fertility celebration dedicated to the Roman god of agriculture.

Since the third century, Valentine’s Day has morphed into a extravagant, money-making, and oftentimes stressful celebrations for many around the globe. Countries that celebrate Valentine’s Day, or a version of Valentine’s Day, include Costa Rica, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Brazil, China, the US, Canada, India, and Japan.

However, some areas of the world aren’t that big of fans of this day of love and affection as we Americans are.

In some of the more conservative parts of Indonesia, Valentine’s Day is considered un-Islamic. People argue that it promotes casual sex and the consumption of alcohol. In the Indonesian province of Aceh, Valentine’s Day gift sales and celebrations are prohibited.

In 2014, eighty individuals were arrested by police in Malaysia for celebrating Valentine’s Day. These officials viewed this day as a day that encourages immoral activities. Despite this occurrence, Malaysians still actively celebrate Valentine’s Day and many of them disregarded this brief Valentine’s Day Boycott.

So now, after spending the past two minutes reading close to useless information about Saint Valentine and the nature of Valentine’s Day across the globe, I hope you feel like you are now a more intelligent being. I hope this information will prove useful to you one day, whether it be in a game of trivia or maybe even to score yourself a date this Valentine’s Day.

 

Sources: https://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day/history-of-valentines-day-2

http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/31382332/valentines-day-countries-that-dont-love-february-romance