Roses are red, violets are blue,
Why are we celebrating? Saint Valentine who?
Celebrated annually on February 14th around the world is Valentine's Day. In these modern times, it is celebrated with expressions of love in the form of chocolates, roses, and gifts given to that special someone, or perhaps received by a secret admirer, but how did it all come to be?
Historians have argued the true origins of Valentine's Day and they believe there have been over eleven saints all named Valentine commemorated in the Roman Catholic Church. One of which was Saint Valentine of Rome, who was imprisoned in the home of a noble for performing secret weddings for lovers against the wishes of the authorities. During his time behind bars, it was said he healed his captor's daughter of her blindness. He was then tortured and decapitated on February 14th after the miraculous act converted the entire household to Christianity. It was believed before his untimely fate that he sent a note to the captor's daughter signed, 'Your Valentine'.
Although Saint Valentine met with a grisly end, Valentine's Day is celebrated all over the world in many fascinating and much more romantic ways - less decapitation and more declarations of love:
In Japan, it is the women who buy gifts and chocolates for their loved ones on Valentine's Day. The men return this gesture on 14th March, which is called the White Day.
In Romania the day is celebrated on 24th February where loved-up couples go into the forests and pick flowers, commemorating the beginning of Spring, and wash their faces with snow for good luck.
In Denmark, Valentine's Day is celebrated by friends and lovers exchanging handmade cards with pressed snowdrop flowers in them.
In Spain the day of love is commemorated on 9th October, where men make figurines out of marzipan called 'macadora' and gift them to their companions.
In South Korea, couples celebrate the day of love on the 14th day of every month. The 'Day of Roses' is celebrated in May, 'Day of Kisses' is celebrated in June, and the 'Day of Hugs' in December.
In Ghana, February 14th is celebrated as 'National Chocolate Day'. As Ghana is one of the largest cocoa producing countries in the world, the government decided in 2007 to start this tradition as a way of increasing tourism in the country. There are performances and musical events all themed around the special day.
In Scotland, Valentine's Day is celebrated with a popular party game. An equal number of men and women write their names on pieces of paper which are then folded in half and placed into a hat. One hat for the women and one hat for the men. One woman draws a name from the men's hat and that chosen fellow is her Valentine for the rest of the evening, exchanging gifts to each other. This was news to us so we are interested to know if any of you have participated in this tradition?
It is also said that the first young man or woman encountered on the street on Valentine's Day morning will become his or hers Valentine and the day should be celebrated with them. Should you lock eyes with your Valentine on the streets of Edinburgh, why not treat them to a romantic meal for two with help of our blog on our top five restaurants to dine at for Valentines?
However you plan to spend it, with Valentine's Day just around the corner have a look at our gift guide for that special someone in your life.