Feb 13, 2014

Celebrating Valentine

written by RussTech

The Feast of St. Valentine, celebrated on February 14 every year began as the Christian celebration of one or several (the actual count is not known) early martyr(s) named Valentinus. It was only years after his death that several different martyr stories appeared. Nevertheless, he is still considered a Saint in both the Roman Catholic, Anglican and Orthodox churches.

Out of several martyrdom stories, one of the more romanticized stories is that he was imprisoned for marrying soldiers who were not allowed to marry as well as for aiding and ministering to people in the Roman Empire for following the Christian faith.  It was during this imprisonment that he cured on a jailer’s daughter and, story goes,  signed a letter to her before his execution with “Your Valentine”. What the true story is, we will probably never truly know. However, since then, it has developed into a celebration that Christians and non-Christians alike have started celebrating in a variety of ways.

In Japan, for example, Valentine’s Day celebrates men. Instead of couples giving each other chocolate or gifts, or women being the sole receiver of a gift, as is common in the US, men are the ones who receive (or don’t receive) chocolates. The type of chocolate that is gifted also plays a bigger role than it does in the United States.  There are 3 types of chocolates that can be given: giri-choko, which is a chocolate that is given to men in which the woman has no romantic interest in, such as a close male friend, colleague or sibling. Below that is  Chō-giri choko, which is sometimes referred to as ultra-obligatory” gifted chocolate.  It is usually a cheap chocolate that is given to an acquaintance.

Finally, honmei-choko,  is reserved for boyfriends, lovers, husbands  or men that the woman has a special interest in.

However, women are not completely shut out. Japan also celebrates Valentine’s Day on “White Day” (March 14) as a response from the men to all the women who gave them chocolate on Valentine’s Day. 

Denmark has developed an interesting tradition of sending funny, quirky poems and rhyming love notes anonymously. Known as “Gaekkebrev”, men sends a woman a note and the only clue to his name are the number of dots that are marked at the bottom of the note representing a letter of his name.  Then it is up to the recipient to guess the name of the sender. If she is successful in guessing who the sender was, then she receives  an egg on Easter that same year, if not then she owes the Easter egg to the sender. 

How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?


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