Every year on Feb. 14, countries all over the world show their love and appreciation for the most important people in their life. There are many legends revolving around the history of the celebration, the most popular stories being about the work of three different saints, who all share the name Saint Valentine or Valentinus. Feb. 14 marks the day they are recognized for their unconditional love and compassion shown to others in their lifetime, which later resulted in their downfall.
The most popular legend revolves around St. Valentine of Rome, who was martyred in the year 269 on Feb 14. The legend says that the emperor at the time, Emperor Claudius, outlawed marriage for young men, because he believed young single men were better soldiers than those with wives and children, according to History.com. Although the marriage of young couples was outlawed, St. Valentine continued to perform marriages for young couples in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Emperor Claudius ordered St. Valentine to be executed. Feb. 14 commemorates the anniversary of his death as countries around the world celebrate the commercial holiday of love and romance.
With the world-renowned holiday being a celebration of love and romance, many countries have their own take on their ways of celebration.
Norway has a custom for Valentines Day that is very similar to the way many Americans celebrate Christmas. In Norway, a folk character by the name of Jack Valentine leaves presents on the doorsteps for Norwegian children, according to AutoEurope.com.
South Korea: South Korea’s way of celebrating is similar to that of the U.S, but instead of men gifting women with presents, the women give gifts to men. A month later on March 14, the men give women gifts, and on April 14, those who did not receive a gift on either day celebrate Black Day, where they eat black noodles with other singles, according to AutoEurope.com.
France: In a now outdated and banned tradition, in France single women and men would gather together for a “lottery of love.” Men would gather and call out the name of their desired partner. Women whose names were not called would gather around bonfires and burn images of those who denied them. These bonfires tended to take a left turn, with women yelling, cursing and throwing objects into the fire which led to the French government later banning this tradition, according to AutoEurope.com.