Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day, also called Saint Valentine's Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is celebrated on February 14 every year.

Updated: January 12, 2019

Valentine's Day, also called Saint Valentine's Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is celebrated on February 14 every year.

Valentine's Day is recognized as a significant cultural, religious, and commercial celebration of romance and romantic love in many regions around the world which is originated from a Western Christian feast day. It is not a public holiday in any country. It is an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards. Valentine's Day symbols that are used today include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. 

The Valentines honored on February 14 are Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni. Valentine of Rome was a priest in Rome who was martyred in 269 and was added to the calendar of saints by Pope Galesius in 496 and was buried on the Via Flaminia. Valentine of Terni became bishop of Interamna and is said to have been martyred during the persecution under Emperor Aurelian in 273. He is buried on the Via Flaminia, but in a different location from Valentine of Rome. 

Saint Valentine was a priest of Rome who was imprisoned for succouring persecuted Christians. Bede's Martyrology, which was compiled in the 8th century states that Saint Valentine was persecuted as a Christian and interrogated by Roman Emperor Claudius II in person. Claudius was impressed by Valentine and had a discussion with him, attempting to get him to convert to Roman paganism in order to save his life. Valentine refused and tried to convert Claudius to Christianity instead. Because of this, he was executed. Before his execution, he is reported to have performed a miracle by healing Julia, the blind daughter of his jailer Asterius. The jailer's daughter and his 46 family members and servants came to believe in Jesus and were baptized. According to Henry Ansgar Kelly, on the evening before Valentine was to be executed, he is supposed to have written the first valentine card himself, addressed to the daughter of his jailer Asterius, who was no longer blind, signing as Your Valentine. The expression From your Valentine was later adopted by modern Valentine letters. This legend has been published by both American Greetings and The History Channel.

February 14 is celebrated as St. Valentine's Day in various Christian denominations. Valentine's Day celebrations was not done in India until around 1992. It was spread due to the programs in commercial TV channels, dedicated radio programs, and love letter competitions, in addition to an economical liberalization that allowed the explosion of the valentine card industry.
The celebration has caused a sharp change on how people have been displaying their affection in public since the Middle Ages. Hindu and Islamic traditionalists have considered the holiday to be cultural contamination from the West, as a result of globalization in India in modern times.

Shiv Sena and the Sangh Parivar have asked their followers to shun the holiday and the public admission of love because of them being alien to Indian culture. Valentine's Day is becoming increasingly popular in India despite these obstacles.

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