Valentine’s Day mysteries- where did its traditions come from?

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Roses are one of the most common gifts to receive on Valentine’s Day. Normally, red roses are the typical gift, however pink and white roses are also given.

By: Katherine Albuquerque, Reporter

Every year on February 14, millions of people worldwide celebrate Valentine’s Day. They usually buy chocolates, roses, and stuffed animals for their loved ones. These classical Valentine’s Day gifts have been around for years, but no one seems to know the history behind them. 

Recently, a survey conducted for this article suggests that 52.1 percent of people don’t know the history behind Valentine’s Day. Additionally, 83.3 percent don’t know the history behind its traditions.

History of Valentine’s Day

Was Valentine a priest, a bishop, or a commoner? No one really knows the origins of Valentine’s day. There are many different accounts of how this day started being celebrated by so many people. 

Historians trace the name Valentine to a Roman priest who lived in the third century during the reign of Emperor Claudius II. Apparently, priest Valentine helped couples get married in secrecy after Claudius II forbade marriages. The Roman Emperor believed that young men should join the military instead of taking matrimonial vows. Valentine felt bad for young lovers and disobeyed the Emperor by performing the marriages. Priest Valentine was sentenced to death by orders of Claudius II. 

Others believe that Valentine was actually Saint Valentine of Terni, a bishop who was also executed by orders of Claudius II. Yet, another story coming from ancient Roman times is that Valentine was none other than a commoner. He bravely tried helping Christians escape the brutal conditions of Roman prisons. Valentine was caught and fell in love with the daughter of a prison guard. She visited him frequently. Before he was killed, Valentine wrote a letter to his beloved. He signed it “From your Valentine.” 

History of Valentine’s Traditions

Chocolate:

From the survey conducted, 85.4 percent of people have received chocolates on Valentine’s Day, making it the highest-ranked gift.  However, many of them don’t know the history behind that tradition. 

The tradition of chocolate giving stems from the obsession of British Victorians for courtly love. Writing cards and offering roses to young ladies was simply not enough. In the 1840s, Richard Cadbury discovered the richness in extracting pure cocoa butter from whole beans. Cadbury revolutionized the chocolate industry by creating new candied delicacies that enchanted the British. These delicious chocolates became a gift-giving tradition on Valentine’s day along with roses and cards in Britain.

Roses:

Roses are some of the most popular flowers to give on Valentine’s Day. Fifty percent of people have received roses as a gift on Valentine’s Day. However, no one knows the true history behind why roses are so significant. 

The tradition of roses also comes from the Victorian era in England. Throughout centuries, the rose became the symbol of Venus – the goddess of love. Roses became a popular Valentine’s day gift during the 1600’s in England. The Victorians attributed a different emotion to the color of roses. Roses became a way to communicate one’s feelings toward another person. 

Teddy Bears: 

Another traditional gift given on Valentine’s Day is a Teddy Bear. In the survey, 58.3 percent of people said that they have received some sort of stuffed animal on Valentine’s Day.

All stuffed animals, especially teddy bears, are used for cuddling. Stuffed animals help the human body release a hormone called oxytocin also known as the ‘love hormone’. People become emotional and filled with love when they receive teddy bears as gifts.

This traditional gift became popular in the US in 1902. Men bought teddy bears as a symbol of their love for their significant other. Hugging the teddy bear was a reminder of the giver’s love. 

Other Types of Gifts

A majority of people prefer homemade gifts instead. The survey revealed that 70.8 percent said they would prefer getting a homemade gift, mostly because of its sentimental value. 

Along with homemade gifts, 8.3 percent of people said that they have received a strange or nontraditional gift for Valentine’s Day. Some people said they received books and tickets to a fictional event. Others got odder gifts like a letter from a fictional god and handmade dolls that looked like them. 

Around 54.2 percent of people believe Valentine’s Day is worthy of being celebrated. They believe that it’s a nice holiday that anyone can enjoy since it’s all about appreciating your loved ones. Several people also believe that the celebration of this special day should be a personal preference. 

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