St. Valentine (the day of lovers) is a very old holiday of the catholic tradition, right from Roman times, dedicated to the goddess Juno, Zeus’ wife.
It is not known who St. Valentine was. It is said that during the reign of the Roman emperor Claudius II marriage was forbidden since married men rejected leaving with the army. In those days there was a priest by the name of Valentine who did not care about this restriction and in secret helped Christians to join their lot. He was imprisoned and there in prison he fell in love with the guardian’s daughter who sent him love letters on a daily basis. On one February the 14th he was executed and so this is why this date is being celebrated.
In modern time the 14th of February got transformed into the Day of Lovers – i.e. Valentine’s Day and for commercial reasons its celebration has become more pronounced becoming very well known first in The United States of America and later in Europe. In our country Valentine’s Day is a recent import, it has become celebrated after 1990.
The Day of Lovers includes a series of symbols and specific representations, each one of them bearing different significance and legends connected to the magical feeling of love.
Tradition says that if you find a glove on Valentine’s Day its owner will be your future partner; if you blow a dandelion you will have as many children as seeds left on you; the first male name heard this day will be your future partner’s name; you will marry a man of meager means and you will be happy if a sparrow flies above you and you will be rich if you manage to spot a peeler.
One of the most popular flowers in the world and a symbol loaded with the force of St. Valentine’s Day, the rose has always stood beauty, passion and love for as long as we remember.
Every year on the 14th of February the flower bearing the hidden message “I love you” is the favorite gift of all men touched by the arrow of Cupid.
As an old Roman legend says when Cupid was crying a cup of nectar for the gods of the Olympus, a few drops of the precious liquor fell on Earth and they immediately transformed into beautiful flowers: the rose.
Red hearts pierced by Cupid’s arrow are also traditional symbols of the day. The heart represents love and the metaphor of offering a heart means offering your whole life to the person you love. The image of the pierced heart means the risk taken on by any person in love: being rejected and getting wounded by it.
The little winged angel Cupid is one of the most beautiful symbols of Valentine’s Day. In Roman mythology, Cupid is represented as the son of Venus, the goddess of love and was represented carrying a bow and arrow. Anyone hit by his arrow would be condemned to falling in love.
In Greek mythology Cupid is known under the name of Eros, the son of Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. Both in antique Greek and Roman mythologies, Cupid is depicted as a nice, handsome youth and not as a fattish child with wings.
The “love doves”, birds that are thought in the symbolism of faith to find their partner on the 14th of February, mean innocence and chastity and when they are represented as a couple they are meant to suggest tenderness and the power of love of two people. It is said that “love doves” gained their name from the fact that when they appear as a couple they merge their bodies like human lovers. At the same time there is the superstition that they cannot outlive their partner’s death.
Valentine’s Days ribbons and strings, associated to love and romance originate in very old times when kings and knights leaving for battle received them as gifts from their wives or chosen ones. Along time these ribbons have turned into a traditional accessory of candy and chocolate wrapping boxes and of Valentine’s Days postcards.
The letter X, symbol of kiss originates in medieval times, when the habit of allowing illiterate people to sign a document was the use of this letter. This was practiced in front of witnesses and the signee used to demonstrate his sincerity kissing the X. Today the X placed at the end of a letter is the symbol of kiss.
Pink, red and white decorate most Valentine’s Day cards and are the special commercial products of this holiday the same way as apparels, candles or ribbons.
Red is being associated to the heart symbolizing love and affection.
White is the symbol of purity and of the truthfulness and fidelity in the couple,
Pink (a combination resulting from red and white) is the symbol of innocence and chastity.
The Evening of Valentine’s Day
After dark sets in the couples meet for a romantic dinner at the magical light of candles. Thus, in the twilight men become more daring to propose to their loved ones.