Valentines History –
Valentine’s Day is celebrated internationally all because of the Saint Valentine! Saint Valentine is said to be a priest in Rome during the 3rd century. Emperor Claudius II declared that single men were better soldiers than men who had a wife and family, so he banned marriage for young soldiers.
Valentine felt this was a huge injustice for young men and started to them to their loved ones in secret. When the emperor found out that Valentine had been performing secret marriages, he sentenced Valentine to death on February 14th. St Valentine became so popular around the world that couples celebrated him on this day every year as the day of love.
In Ireland on Valentines day you would usually see bouquets or roses and flowers, boxes of chocolates, Valentines cards and other commercial holiday type presents on this day. Couples and loved ones would make reservations in their favourite restaurant’s (Mabel Crawford’s) or nights away in their favourite hotels (Cork’s Vienna Woods Hotel). In other countries their traditions are not quite the same as ours...
As well as the usual flowers, cards and chocolates, Germans also gift their loved ones or crush, pig shaped chocolates as in Germany the pig symbolises lust, luck, and good fortune.
In Japan it is tradition for the women and girls to gift the men and boys with chocolate and not the other way around. Women gift their crush or romantic interest with chocolates as well as their non-romantic interests. There are two types of chocolate gifts that can be given. The "giri-choco” and the "honmei-chocos".
The "giri-choco” chocolates are usually readymade, standard chocolates that are given friends, family or non–romantic interests. ‘Giri’ means obligation so these chocolates are usually just obligatory gift for loved ones to show them you care!
The "honmei-chocos" are more expensive and luxurious chocolates which can also be home made that women give to men that they have a crush on or to their romantic partners. Home made chocolates usually mean more than store bought chocolates no matter now expensive they are. Around Valentines day shops are usually packed with chocolate making supplies and chocolate packaging so that ‘Honmei-chocos’ can be made!
On March 14th Japan also celebrates ‘White Day’ where people return the sentiment with gifts to the people that gave them gifts on Valentines day. Gifts do not have to be chocolates on this day. It is a day where men can return the favour to women by giving them presents for giving them chocolates.
In the Philippines, like most places they have the traditions of exchanging cards, flowers and chocolates but the city council also has often organized mass weddings on or around the 14th of February to help disadvantaged couples. Several hundreds of couples could be married at the same time!