Most people send "valentines," a greeting card named after the notes that St. Valentine received in jail. Valentines can be sentimental and romantic and usually contain messages from the heart. They can be funny and friendly. If the sender is shy, valentines can also be anonymous.
Valentine's Day in the United States – The Day for Lovers
Landing every year on February 14, Valentine's Day is the most romantic day on the calendar in the United States.
There are certain traditions and anti-traditions which are likely to be observed in the days leading up to Valentine's Day and on the day itself.
While the origins of Valentine’s Day are debatable,
the original day commemorating love and romance has remained.
The main symbols associated with this day include red and pink hearts, cupid, cards, chocolate and flowers. Despite all of these traditional elements, the real message of the day is to celebrate the love one has with anyone, ranging from family to friends to lovers and spouses. However, just as many holidays in the US or other countries, this day of love has been commercialized, and most companies produce and sell items specifically for Valentine's Day. Intended to serve the demand for V-Day gifts, some people believe all of this has taken away the real meaning of the day, and support some anti-traditions, such as going so far as to boycott the holiday entirely.
Valentine's Day received its name from Saint Valentine. In fact there are several St. Valentines in the history books connected with this holiday. Strangely, the life and demise of these saints do not resemble the type of romantic stories associated with Valentine's Day, so these tales are usually omitted from the day's celebrations.
Other connections with old literature include works written during Geoffrey Chaucer's time frame. This was a time of renewed focus on love and romance. Many of the traditions of modern day USA Valentine's Day revelers come from this time period hundreds of years ago. Thankfully, people during this time wrote enough romantic literature to fill a million Valentine's Day cards.
Before Valentine's Day
There is much to be done before the actual date of February 14, or the romance may be lost. This is one of the most popular days on which to go out for dinner, so booking a nice restaurant, weeks in advance, is necessary. For those who want to spend a romantic night at a luxury hotel, these rooms will also sell out fast, so booking a room, weeks in advance, is heavily recommended.
One of the other staples of Valentines Day is the flower giving. Flower shops are swamped on Valentine's Day, so it is best to procure a set of roses or other flowers as soon as possible. A dozen red roses is the most popular sign of love with flowers, but people are breaking away from the traditional choices these days. Often, Americans will be more pleased with a unique flower arrangement than the standard roses. However, everyone appreciates a dozen red roses on Valentine's Day.
Activities on the Day
For those who do celebrate Valentine's Day, there are certain things which are always done. Some of these include the following:
- Sending flowers.
- Going out for dinner or cooking dinner at home.
- Sending Valentines (cards).
- Spending time with loved ones.
Despite all of these things which should be done for Valentine's Day, almost no one receives a day off from work for this day. Because it is around the same time as Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Washington's Birthday, this day sees almost everyone going to work.
A romantic setting - Candles, soft romantic music and delicious chocolates.
Non - traditional Activities
For many, the commercialization of Valentine's Day became too much. Instead of sending the mandatory dozen of red roses, box of chocolates, and going to have an expensive dinner, some people are choosing nontraditional methods of celebrating. These may include staying at home together, celebrating on a different day altogether, or doing something more intimate and personal than what is usually prescribed for Valentine's Day.
The Valentine's Day Card or Valentine
Regardless of whether the people celebrating Valentine's Day decide to do it the traditional way or to go off and try something new, one thing will remain static no matter what happens. Giving a Valentine's Day card is always seen as a good way to express one's feelings on this day. It can be a well put together store bought card, or it can be a meaningful handmade card that gets presented to the other person.
The greeting card industry in the US has gotten enormous, and Valentine's Day is one of the largest holidays for this industry. According to industry statistics, over 190 million cards are bought or made each year. This means that over half of the population is either sending or receiving a card on February 14. That's a lot of love.
For some, Valentine's Day is the time to reveal a secret love that one has for another person. Tied in with the idea of Valentine's Day cards, it is fairly common to have one person make or buy a Valentine's Day card and sign it anonymously in order to perk the interest of the other person. This adds to the fun and playful romance which is at the core of this special day.
International Interest in Valentine's Day
While the roots of this romantic day are based in Europe and the rest of the Western world, the holiday has caught on quickly in almost every country in the world. From Asia to South America to the Middle East, people are celebrating Valentine's Day on February 14. Due to the fact that the traditions are not specific to one particular story or cultural event, but rather based on love, a universal feeling, Valentine's Day is a huge success in every part of the world. In addition to the observance being popular around the globe, the associated industry of flowers, cards, and other gifts has also been successfully exported and re-developed in other countries.
What to Do This Valentine's Day
It may be easy to follow standard traditions of chocolates, flowers, and dinner, but it might be worth it to go that extra step in making the day a special one for you and your partner. Find a way to make him or her happy to be in love with you. There are thousands of ideas on the internet, so it may be worth it to investigate the holiday a bit before copying the standard traditions. Either way, find someone who you love or someone who needs love and celebrate the most romantic holiday in the world.