Valentines Day 

Valentines Day, also known as Saint Valentine's Day, or the Feast of Saint Valentine is a Christian holiday in honor of St. Valentine although it has a strong Roman-Pagan origin and has become increasingly secular.  It is a day that couples express devotion to their

relationship and partner. Often couples exchange gifts, flowers, poems, greeting cards (Valentine's), candies, and spend more time together.  The Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates Saint Valentine's Day on July 6th in honor of the Roman presbyter Saint Valentine and July 30th in honor of Hieromartyr Valentine, the Bishop of Interamna.

The ancient Romans celebrated the Feast of Lupercalia on February 14th in honor of Juno, the queen of the Roman gods and goddesses. Juno was also the goddess of women and marriage.  In England, the Romans, who had taken over the country, had introduced the Lupercalia pagan fertility festival that was held every February 14th. After the Romans left England, a century later, the pagan ritual was abolished by Pope Gelsius who then established St. Valentine's Day as a celebration of love in 496 A.D. St Valentine was a man, who was martyred because he didn’t want to give up Christianity, so he was said to have been murdered on February 14th in Africa with a number of companions. No real romantic elements have been found regarding any of the several Saints named Valentine, but as with many christian named holidays, the Pagan elements are the most prevelant. 

Cupid became associated with the day because he was the son of Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty. Cupid often appears on Valentine cards holding a bow and arrows because he is believed to use magical arrows to inspire feelings of love.  The red rose was the favorite flower of Venus.

In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who would be their Valentine. They would wear this name pinned onto their sleeves for one week for everyone to see. This was the origin of the expression "to wear your heart on your sleeve." Many believe the 'X' symbol became synonymous with the kiss in medieval times. People who couldn't write their names signed in front of a witness with an 'X.' The 'X' was then kissed to show their sincerity.  The oldest known Valentines were sent in 1415 A.D. by the Duke of Orleans to his French wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. It is still on display in a museum in England. The oldest surviving love poem (Istanbul #2461) is written in a clay tablet from the times of the Sumerians, inventors of writing, around 3500 B.C.  

The first American publisher of valentines was printer and artist Esther Howland. During the 1870s, her elaborate lace cards were purchased by the wealthy, as they cost from $5 to $35 dollars. Hand written cards fell out of favor   when mass production brought prices

down, and the  "penny valentine" became popular with the lower classes.  Every Valentine's Day, the city of Verona, Italy where Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet lived, receives about 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet.

In Brazil, Valentine's Day is known as "Dia dos Namorados" ("Lovers' Day", or "Boyfriends-Girlfriends' Day") and is celebrated on June 12th, the day before Saint Anthony's Day (marriage saint in Brazil) on June 13th.  The February 14th is too close to the Brazilian Carnival.

In China, the equivelent of Valentine's Day is known as the Qixi Festival or Qíng rén jié. It is the  celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar.  On this day, men give chocolate and flowers to the woman they love. It commemorates the day on which a legendary cowherder and weaving maid were allowed to be together. The western Valentine's Day is too close to Chinese New Year, which is usually in February or January,  to be celebrated in China.
The Qixi Festival is on...
August 13th, 2013
August 2nd, 2014
August 20th, 2015
August 9th, 2016
August 28th, 2017
August 17th, 2018
August 7th, 2019
August 25th, 2020

In Colombia, "Día del Amor y la Amistad" (Day of Love and Friendship) is celebrated every third Saturday of September and is similar to Valentines Day. . The Amigo secreto ("Secret friend") is also held on this day, it is similar to a "Secret Santa".

the Third Saturday of September is on...
2013 September 21st
2014 September 20th
2015 September 19th
2016 September 17th
2017 September 16th
2018 September 15th
2019 September 21st
2020 September 19th
2021 September 18th


In Costa Rica, Valentine's Day is knonw as "Día del Amor y la Amistad" (Day of Love and Friendship). The Amigo Secreto ("Secret friend") is also held on this day, it is similar to a "Secret Santa".

In Cyprus, Valentine's Day is knonw as  Ημέρα του Αγίου Βαλεντίνου ("St Valentines day").

In Denmark, Valentine's Day is known as Valentinsdag.

In Dominican Republic, Valentine's Day is knonw as "Día del Amor y la Amistad" (Day of Love and Friendship). The Amigo Secreto ("Secret friend") is also held on this day, it is similar to a "Secret Santa".

In Ecuador, Valentine's Day is knonw as "Día del Amor y la Amistad" (Day of Love and Friendship). The Amigo Secreto ("Secret friend") is also held on this day, it is similar to a "Secret Santa".

In Estonia, Valentine's Day is known as Sõbrapäev.

In Finland, Valentine's Day is known as Ystävänpäivä ("Friend's day"), and is more about remembering and appreciating friends, rather than loved ones.

In France, Valentine's Day is known as "Saint Valentin"

In Greece, Valentine's Day is knonw as  Ημέρα του Αγίου Βαλεντίνου ("St Valentines day")

In Guatemala, Valentine's Day is knonw as "Día del Cariño" (Affection Day).

In India, Valentine's Day is becoming increasingly popular despite Hindu and Islamic traditionalists, who consider the holiday to be Western cultural contamination as a result of the globalization in India.

In Iran, Valentine's Day is celebrated among some youth despite The Association of Iran's Cultural and Natural Phenomena's efforts to replace the day with Sepandarmazgan, a national holiday on February 17th. Tthe Sepandarmazgan, also known as Esfandegan, is an age-old traditional celebration of love, friendship and Earth. It has nothing in common with the Saint Valentine celebration, except for a superficial similarity in giving affection and gifts to loved ones.  The Iranian printing works owners' union warned that those who celebrate Valentines day will be "legally dealt with".

In Israel, the Tu B'Av, also known as fast of Tisha b'Av, is considered the Jewish Valentine's Day and is observed through ancient traditions of courtship.
The Tu B'Av is on...
2013: (sunset) July 15th, to (evening) July 16th.
2014: (sunset) August 4th, to (evening) August 5th.
2015: (sunset) July 25th, to (evening) July 26th.
Jewish tradition the 15th day of the month of Av – Tu B'Av (usually late August) is the festival of love.  Valentines Day is also observed by many especially non-traditionals. 

In Lithuania and Latvia, people celebrate Valentines Day by putting stickers on faces and clothing of a friend or a relative.

In Japan, Valentine's Day is an elaborate dance of love, respect, pride, humility, and order. Many in the Western Culture have a hard time understanding Japanese culture, If you haven't experienced this before, I believe that after you read this you will understand. OK... Here we go...
Valentines Day was promoted in the late 50's by a confectionery and cake company (Morozoff Ltd.) which was trying to reach western visitors.  In the 60's the holiday began to catch on as other companies ran with the idea. What may have been an error in translation led to Women giving chocolates to Men.  Soon women in the workplace were obligated to give chocolates to all their men co-workers.  The choice of how much and what quality chocolates varies on how worthy and deserving the co-worker is.  An unpopular male co-worker will only recieve obligatory (cheap) chocolates but a desired co-worker shall receive favorite (expensive) chocolates, and other women may exchange friend chocolates. Japanese chocolate companies make half their annual sales during this time of the year. 
Good so far? ok...
In the 80s the Japanese National Confectionery Industry Association created "White Day", also known as "Reply Day" on March 14th.  On this day men are expected to return gifts that are at least two or three times more valuable than gifts received in Valentine's Day. If a man does not returning the gift, he has insulted the women and has displayed that she is inferior.  No excuse is acceptable.  If a man returns a gift of equal value, he is displaying that he is not interested or is severing ties with the woman.  What started as exchanging chocolate, has now become gifts of jewelry, accessories, clothing and lingerie.

The romantic "date night" similar to Valentine's Day is celebrated on Christmas Eve. Another day similar to valentines day called Tanabata has been celebrated for centuries, on July 7th but has different roots.

In Malaysia, Valentine's Day is illegal, In recent years, religious police have raided hotels to stop young couples from having unlawful sex, and have distributed leaflets to Muslim university students warning them against the day.  Authorities arrested and tried couples in Shariah Court for defying the department's ban against the celebration of Valentine's Day.

In Mexico, Valentine's Day is known as "Día del Amor y la Amistad" (Day of Love and Friendship). The Amigo Secreto ("Secret friend") is also held on this day, it is similar to a "Secret Santa".

In Norfolk, UK,  'Jack' Valentine knocks on the rear door of houses leaving sweets and presents for children

In Norway, Valentine's Day is known as Valentinsdag.

In Pakistan, Valentine's Day has become increasingly popular among the youth and merchants.  The public at large still consider Valentine's Day to be opposed to Pakistani culture and Islamic teachings.

In the Philippines, Valentine's Day is known as "Araw ng mga Puso" or "Hearts Day", flowers are often exchanged.

In Portugal, Valentine's Day is known as "Dia dos Namorados" (Lover's Day, or Day of those that are in love with each other).

In Puerto Rico, Valentine's Day is knonw as "Día del Amor y la Amistad" (Day of Love and Friendship). The Amigo secreto ("Secret friend") is also held on this day, it is similar to a "Secret Santa".

In Romania, the holiday for lovers is Dragobete, which is celebrated on February 24th.

In Saudi Arabia, Valentine's Day is illegal, religious police have banned the sale of all Valentine's Day items, and forced shop workers to remove any red items in an effort to kill the holiday.

In Slovenia, Valentine's Day is known as Zdravko (Saint Valentine) and marks the beginning of spring. St Valentine was one of the saints of spring. Slovenia celebrates three Love Days,  Saint Gregory's day on March 12th, Saint Vincent's Day on February 22nd, and Saint Anthony Day (the patron of love) on June 13th.

In South Korea, They are crazy about love.  Valentine's Day is celebrated with women giving chocolate to men on February 14th, and men give non-chocolate candy to women on White Day on March 14th (like in Japan). On Black Day on April 14th, those who did not receive any gifts on Valentines Day or White Day go to a restaurant to eat black noodles (jajangmyeon) and "mourn" the single life.  In fact, the 14th of every month has a love-related holiday in Korea (although many are only marginally observed).
January 14th is Candle Day
February 14th is Valentine's Day
March 14th is White Day
April 14th is Black Day
May 14th is Rose Day
June 14th is Kiss Day
July 14th is Silver Day
August 14th is Green Day
September 14th is Music Day
October 14th is Wine Day
November 14th is Movie Day
December 14th is Hug Day.
Koreans also celebrate Pepero Day on November 11th, with young couples give each other Pepero cookies. The date '11/11' is intended to resemble the long shape of the cookie.

In Spain, Valentine's Day is known as "San Valentín" , The primary day of love is  La Diada de Sant Jordi (Saint George's Day) on April 23rd.

In Sweden, Valentine's Day is known as Alla hjärtans dag ("All Hearts' Day")

In Taiwan, Men give gifts to women on Valentine's Day, and women return the favor on White Day (reverse of Japan).

In Wales, the public celebrates Dydd Santes Dwynwen (St Dwynwen's Day), also known as Diwrnod Santes Dwynwen, a celebration of love.  It is observed on January 25th instead of and sometimes in addition to Valentine's Day.  

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