It’s not a public holiday in most parts of the world, but that doesn’t dampen the spirits of those lovers hit by the Cupid’s arrow! (Just to refresh: Cupid is the God of desire, erotic love, attraction and affection in classical mythology with a bow & arrow.) Why Cupid all of a sudden, you may ask? The ‘month of romance’ is here and the Valentine’s Day is around the corner!
Interestingly Cupid could only experience the ordeal of love when he was wounded by his own arrow (in the tale of ‘Cupid and Psyche’ in Metamorphoses, the novel). But we’re concerned with Valentine, and you thought St. Valentine was only one saint, right! The celebration of Valentine's Day, or Saint Valentine's Day is essentially linked to the tradition of worshiping one or more Christian saints named Valentinus in Latin, but originally stems from ancient Roman tradition with courting of lovers before the spread of Christianity. And regarding the term ‘Valentine’ one legend has it. According to this, before his execution Saint Valentine of Rome (persecuted by the Roman Emperor Claudius II because the saint defied his decree of celibacy for young men enrolled in army and performed their marriages secretly) wrote a farewell letter to the daughter of his jailer whom he had healed and later fallen in love with, signed as "Your Valentine".
By 18th century in England, the day had evolved into an occasion for lovers expressing their love for each other romantically with presentations like flowers, confectionery and greeting cards nicknamed "valentines" whereas in parts of Europe, Saint Valentine's Keys were presented to lovers as invitations to unlock the presenters’ heart. Winged Cupids, heart-shaped objects, teddy bears and pink roses are some preferred modern day additions to this list now.
But customs can’t be the same everywhere! So on the day you’ve Danish sweethearts exchanging pressed white flowers called ‘snowdrops’ and Danish men sending anonymous “gaekkebrevs” (or ‘joking letters’) consisting of funny poems written on intricately cut papers. Valentine's Day in recent times has acquired a larger dimension beyond romantic couples to include anyone people adore like the Finnish celebrating it as Ystävänpäivä (or “Friendship Day”).
Like any other festival Valentine’s Day has its preferred delicacies too! Chocolates may have been the overriding favourites across boundaries, but different parts have their own specialities. Discover such global gourmet fares along with other bespoke romantic events across ITC Hotels just waiting to pamper you.
Get into the mood to celebrate the romance in your life now!