Each year on February 14th, many people exchange cards, candy, gifts or flowers with their special “valentine.” The day of romance we call Valentine’s Day is named for a Christian martyr and dates back to the 5th century, but has origins in the Roman holiday Lupercalia.

Several historians trace the origin of Valentine’s Day to pagan times in ancient Roman Empire. In those times, people organized a holiday on February 14 to honor Juno the mythological Queen of Roman Gods and Goddesses. The Romans also regarded Juno as the Goddess of Women and Marriage. From the following day February 15 started the Fertility Festival called the Feast of Lupercalia. This feast was organized to protect humans from wolves and to honor the Roman Gods of Agriculture Lupercus and Faunus besides the founders of Rome – Romulus and Remus. During the Feast of Lupecalia, members of Lupercali – an order of the Roman priest used to gather in a sacred cave whereRomulus and Remus were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa.

Other legends said St. Valentine is the patron of sweethearts. February 14 is the anniversary of his death. One of the legends says that Valentine was a Christian priest who lived in the 3rd century. He was put into prison by roman authorities for his teachings and was beheaded on February 14. According to the legend he performed a miracle. He cured his jailer’s daughter of her blindness. Before the execution he wrote her a letter signed «From Your Valentine».

Romantic Festival of Valentine’s Day is celebrated with joy and verve in several countries around the world. All over the world people celebrate Valentine’s Day by expressing love to sweethearts, spouses and special ones. However, customs and traditions of celebrating the festival vary in different countries due to social and cultural differences. Click on the links given below to find out how Valentine’s Day is celebrated in countries around the world.

Valentine’s Day is an extremely popular festival inUnited States of America. Valentine’s Day is said to have imported toNorth America in the 19th century by British settlers. In the second half of the 20th century, the practice of giving gifts along with cards became popular. Roses and chocolates were the most commonly exchanged Valentine’s Day Gifts and were usually given by man to the woman. Around 1980’s diamond industry began to promote Valentine’s Day as an occasion to gift fine jewelry. Today, the day has come to be associated with a generic platonic greeting of “Happy Valentine’s Day.”  Valentine’s Day dinner and dance parties are organized all over the country to celebrate the occasion. Many couples hold private celebrations in homes or restaurants.

Valentine’s Day Festival has a history of extravagant celebrations inAustralia. It is said that during the Australian gold rush period miners became extremely rich due to the new wealth found from the Ballarat Mines.

In Canada Valentines Day festival is celebrated with much enthusiasm. Valentine’s Day balls and parties are organized all over the country where people express love for their spouses and sweethearts and enjoy to the hilt. Roses, chocolates, candies and cards are the most popular gifts for the romantic occasion.

In Italy Valentine’s Day was initially celebrated as a Spring Festival. Celebration for the day was held in the open air. Young people would gather in tree arbors or ornamental gardens and enjoy listening to music and reading of poetry.  In the Italian City of Turin, betrothed couple used to announce their engagement on the Valentine’s Day.

In Russia Valentine’s day became popular in early 90’s. On this day many people make a declaration of love and propose marriage. And if they’ve already found their love, they just remind about it and make surprises or give presents to each other. The main symbol of this holiday is valentine. It’s a small heart-shaped card. It is often colored red, has red trimmings and pictures of hearts. It is put into the postbox of that person whom you like. It’s good day for parties, especially by young people. The hosts trim the hall with red and white paper hearts.

This holiday gives people happiness and joy. For sweethearts this holiday is another reason to show their love to each other. And no matter what nationality you are or your current status is; to me Valentine’s day is not a one-sided holiday instead it is a day when I remind all of my close ones how much they mean to me and how much I love them. Wherever you are and whatever you plan on this Friday, I wish you all a happy Valentine’s day that is as sweet as chocolates.