What Is the Purpose of Valentine's Day
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With Valentine’s Day approaching, you must have noticed the increased number of flowers, heart-shaped chocolates, and all kinds of red items in the stores. At some point, you pause in the middle of whatever you’re doing at the moment and ask yourself: what’s that all about? Why do we celebrate Valentine’s Day? You might have celebrated this day many times before without even knowing its background. Do you even know why it’s called the way it is, or how did Valentine’s Day come to be? If not, maybe it’s the right time to find answers to all these questions. As you’ll probably continue to celebrate it for the years to come, you might as well be informed about what you’re doing. Besides, there are some quite interesting facts surrounding this unique day. You’re going to want to hear them!
So, stick around and have some fun with us. Let’s unwrap the veil covering the meaning of this day and figure out what is the purpose of Valentine’s Day together.
The Legend of St. Valentine
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The day derives its name from Saint Valentine. You probably heard by now that people also call the day of love Saint Valentine’s. Who was he? The truth is, we can’t be sure. There are several stories surrounding this famous name.
The most popular legend says that Valentine was a priest in Rome in the third century AD. He defied the orders of Emperor Claudius II, who banned marriage at the time because he believed that married men were bad soldiers. Valentine thought that was cruel, so he continued to marry people in secret. That got him into jail and consequently, death because he was executed for defying the Emperor’s orders.
The legend says that Valentine fell in love with the jailer’s daughter while he was waiting for the execution. He even sent her a love letter signed “from your Valentine”. Now it makes sense, right? Valentine was killed on 14 February.
Although we can’t be sure whether this legend is true or not, the story gives some kind of meaning to the event. Valentine is portrayed as a heroic, sympathetic, and romantic figure. That will become the essence of Valentine’s Day in the future, as you’ll see later on.
Origin of Valentine’s Day
Before we answer the question of what is the purpose of celebrating Valentine’s Day in modern times, let’s see how the event started in the first place. The first Valentine’s Day was organized back in 496, and it was a Roman festival! The Romans celebrated Lupercalia in the middle of February, the official start of the springtime. The main purpose of the festival was banishing wicked spirits and regaining purification of the city. The Romans believed that they will ensure prosperity and health for the citizens through the festival games and practices.
Later on, with the rising popularity of Christian religion, Pope Gelasius made changes to the Lupercalia festival because of the pagan rituals. He decided to switch the dates and move Valentine’s Day to February 14. It was a matter of connecting the date with the Christian calendar and celebrating the saint instead of performing pagan rituals.
The popularization of Valentine’s Day: Poets in Love
What does Valentine’s Day mean in terms of love? As you can see, the connections between the day and love are there, but they are not so simple to draw. The earliest celebrations of the date weren’t so much about romantic love. Valentine’s Day as we know it started to be celebrated around the 15th century. Can you guess who gets all the credit for popularizing it? Poets, of course!
It was the poet Chaucer who first wrote about Valentine’s Day in the Middle Ages. He wrote the poem to honor the engagement of King Richard II to Anne of Bohemia. As historians suggest, it was the beginning of the tradition of courtly love. It was about expressing love and admiration by performing flirting games and reading poetry, usually on the court and in secret.
Soon many poets began to write about Valentine’s Day. The earliest verses were written by Charles, Duke of Orléans to his wife, while the most popular ones that mention Valentine’s Day for the first time are verses written by Shakespeare.
It was Ophelia in William Shakespeare’s Hamlet that said:
Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
Then up he rose, and donn’d his clothes,
And dupp’d the chamber-door;
Let in the maid, that out a maid
Never departed more.
— William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5
These days, there are countless love songs that mention Valentine’s Day. You probably know about this classic, but we are going to mention it anyway:
With Ella Fitzgerald, you can truly get in the mood for Valentine’s Day and make the best of the day!
When answering the question of what is the significance of celebrating St. Valentine’s Day, it’s important to have tradition and history in mind. That can help us track the development of the event and understand how it became the widely celebrated day of love.
So, we have seen that Valentine’s Day was first about remembering a saint and performing rituals to ensure the prosperity of the city. Then it became part of the court games, and the poets made it even more popular for the masses in the 15th century. In modern times, the old flirting games and practices disappeared. With technology development, it became easier to just buy and give items produced massively in fabrics. With the uprise of capitalism, the practices shifted towards pricey gifts, experiences, and other ways of celebration. Still, the main purpose of Valentine’s Day remained.
These days, the importance of Valentine’s Day lays in showing appreciation and love to the closest people in your life. Yes, it’s an era of consumerism and many people feel like they’re being pushed to buy numerous expensive gifts. Things don’t have to be that way, though. You can do whatever makes you comfortable and what pleases your loved one. The only important thing is to spend time with the ones you love and show how much you care about them. After all, that made Valentine’s Day survive such a long history and still be celebrated today.
In past times, sending a love letter to your Valentine’s was a must. It was a sign of appreciation and love, and the ultimate gift for the event. Things changed in modern times, but the symbol of the letter portraying the love remains. The difference now is that we rarely make cards and letters but rather buy them in the store.
Along with a letter as a symbol of love, there are many heart-shaped presents one can buy in modern times for his or her Valentine. The heart is an obvious symbol as well as the red color that represents love and passion.
It’s also interesting that we still use Cupid’s figure to represent love. In classical mythology, Cupid is the son of the love goddess Venus and the god of war, Mars. He is the god of desire, erotic love, and attraction. Artists always portrayed Cupid as a child with a bow and arrow in his hands. In modern times, he mostly represents love in general, although he wasn’t the bearer of selfless and deep love but rather an erotic and dependent one.
Burning Questions: What to Do for Your Loved One
Should I Get a Gift?
Let’s repeat it once again. What is the point of Valentine’s Day? To have some kind of reminder to show more appreciation and love to the closest people in our lives. Do you have to do it by giving gifts? No. That’s completely up to you. Consider the wishes of those special people in your life. You can agree on exchanging gifts or not, but spending some time together is a must, don’t forget that!
Girls, here are our ideas on Valentine’s Day Gift Ideas for Him. We know you might struggle with finding the best gift for him, especially for Valentine’s Day when you have to guess his feelings toward the day.
Boys, don’t forget to bookmark this page Creative Ways to Give a Gift to Your Girlfriend. It’s full of suggestions that might help you get through the awkward moments (God knows these happen on Valentine’s Day all the time) when giving a gift.
Can I Give Experiences Instead of Gifts?
Of course, you can! If you and your loved ones are outdoor enthusiasts, you can take a trip or journey for Valentine’s Day. You can also stay at home, cook, watch movies, or just listening to music together until you start singing every word from every song on your playlist. The options are endless! The important thing you should know is that there’s nothing wrong with giving experiences instead of gifts. Sometimes, it’s even better!
If you need some extra ideas, you can take a look at Romantic Anniversary Night Ideas. The article can help you spice things up for Valentine’s Day with some romantic moments.
Is Valentine’s Only for Couples?
Not at all! Valentine’s Day is about love in general, not a specific type of it. It’s about celebrating the special bonds you have with people in your life. You can choose to do it with your partner, friends, kids, or any other person in your life. For example, you can take a quick peek at our article about Valentine’s Day Gifts for 2-Year-Old Daughter. It might give you ideas on what to give to other people in your life and with whom you can celebrate the day of love.
What If I’m Single?
Well, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t celebrate the day! As we mentioned above, Valentine’s Day is about love in general. It should remind us about how lucky we are to have some people in our lives and how we should always appreciate it. Gather up some friends, spend time with family, and enjoy all the love in the air!
Hopefully, we revealed the mystery called Valentine’s Day, so now it makes much more sense to you. As you can see, it wasn’t always about giving chocolate and flowers. The history of Valentine’s Day has its origins back in Rome, Christianity, and dark events that occurred during the first couple of centuries. It’s a story about blood, death, and love.
Still, don’t let that newly gained knowledge drag you away from celebrating Valentine’s Day. Although we should be informed about the past, and we are definitely shaped by it, we also make our own story. We are to create narratives for future generations, just as those before us, and before them. If you like the idea of Valentine’s Day, feel free to celebrate it. If you don’t like it, dodge it completely. Still, don’t forget to first see what it looks like to celebrate it with your loved ones. Only then you’ll be able to make a decision based on your experience.
Now that you know what is the purpose of Valentine’s Day, and you’re also well informed about its history, you are all set to decide how you’re going to celebrate it. Remember, the main purpose of Valentine’s Day is to spend time with loved ones, show them your love and appreciation. Don’t feel like you have to do this or that. Do whatever pleases you, buy gifts or not, it’s up to you. The only thing that you should stick with is enjoying the time you have with the closest people in your life!
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