Valentine’s Day 2022 - The Meaning Behind It and Who St Valentine Was!

The last two years have thrown up some unique challenges for couples, so if you’ve made it through to Valentine’s Day 2022 with your romance intact then you’ve earned a celebration.


Now that lockdown restrictions have eased, travel measures are lifting and restaurants are striving to recover, this year’s celebrations might be more significant than usual.

But what is it that we’re actually celebrating, and why is it associated with romance? Here’s everything you need to know about Valentine’s Day.

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When is Valentine’s Day 2022?

Valentine’s Day is always celebrated on 14 February, which this year falls on a Monday.

Nobody is completely certain why we mark it on the date, but there are a number of theories. Some, for example, believe St Valentine’s Day was placed on 14 February to mark the burial of Valentine of Rome.

Pope Gelasius added it to the calendar in the fifth century in place of the pagan festival of Lupercalia, which was celebrated between 13-15 February, dedicated to the god of agriculture, and denoted the start of spring.

Apparently, Gelasius scrapped it for Valentine’s Day to Christianise the pagan festival, but there is no proof of this.

The other link to 14 February, comes from a 1382 poem by Geoffrey Chaucer, which is believed to be the first time Valentine’s Day was associated with romance.

In “Parchement of Foules” he wrote: “For this was on seynt Volantynys day / Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.”
Valentine’s Day 2022 - The Meaning Behind It and Who St Valentine Was!
Valentine’s Day 2022 - The Meaning Behind It and Who St Valentine Was!
This translates to: “For this was on St. Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.”

This is a reference to the start of birds’ mating season, which in Middle England was generally accepted to be on 14 February.

Valentine’s Day then rose to prominence in the 18th century, with people beginning to send cards and give presents to their partners.

Who was St Valentine?

The celebration actually links to at least two saints – the aforementioned Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni, and possibly another of the same name about whom little is known.

Valentine of Rome was a Roman priest who was martyred in 296 and added to the calendar of saints by Pope Galesius in 496.


The story goes that he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers, who were forbidden to marry, and for ministering to Christians persecuted under the Roman Empire.

According to legend, during his imprisonment Valentine of Rome restored sight to the blind daughter of his judge, and before his execution he wrote her a letter signed “Your Valentine”.

Valentine of Terni was a bishop who was martyred during the persecution by Emperor Aurelian in 273.

How is Valentine’s Day celebrated around the world?

14 February is marked in different and more unusual ways around the world. So if you are keen to change things up this year, here are some traditions from around the globe:
Japan

Valentine’s Day is celebrated on two different dates in Japan , with females presenting gifts to their loved ones on 14 February, and men later returning the favour on the White Day, which is celebrated a month later on 14 March.

Women typically give the gift of one of two types of chocolate.

One is called giri-choco, which is bought for friends, bosses, colleagues, or close male friends, while boyfriends and husbands are given hon-mei, usually prepared by the women themselves.

Slovenia:

The date is associated with agriculture in Slovenia, and is considered the beginning of spring. It is often the day that workers head back to the fields, with many proposals occurring there.

Germany:

The colour red will often be seen all across the country as a symbol of love and passion on Valentine’s Day, with bouquets of roses usually being an essential part of celebrations.

Children also often present heart-shaped gifts with messages of love to their parents, teachers and classmates, and baskets of chocolates and sweets are also traditionally given.

Argentina:

Not content with celebrating love for just one day, Argentinians devote an entire week to the festival of love, known as ‘sweetness week’.

Held between 13 and 20 July, lovers exchange kisses for sweets, with the week of celebrations coming to an end with a friendship day as well.

South Korea:

South Koreans can’t get enough of the romance and celebrate the day of love on the 14th day every month of the year.

Meanwhile, those who are single celebrate “the black day” in April, when they eat black noodles.

France:

One traditional Valentine’s event in France was the loterie d’amour, in which hopeful singles would line up in houses facing each other and take turns calling through the windows until they were paired up.

The women left on their own then gathered afterwards for a bonfire ceremoniously burning images of the men who rejected them.

South Africa:

While many will celebrate the day with chocolates, flowers and romantic dinners, others opt for a more direct approach with some women pinning the name of their love on their sleeve for the day.


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