Travel the World
Pucker up! Our Valentine’s Day kiss-and-tell exposes some fascinating facts about the annual love fest and how Feb. 14 is observed around the world.
The Murky Origins of Valentine’s Day
Although Valentine’s Day is thought to be named after a Christian saint, there’s nothing remotely religious about this day set aside for love and lovers.
There are references linking Valentine’s Day to courtship in the Middle Ages but it wasn’t until the late 18th century that the British began sending paper Valentine cards to one another. Americans adopted the custom and ran with it, turning February 14th into a mass-marketer’s dream day of chocolate, cards, flowers, and, lest we forget, love. Today Valentine’s Day is popping up in lots of places. Admittedly, in countries where it’s a recent import, it’s mainly celebrated by younger people.
Not Everyone’s a Fan of Valentine’s Day
Plenty of people loathe February 14th, among them single, divorced or just plain depressed folks who suffer from what’s been termed “the Valentine’s Day Blues.” Others are put off by the over-hyped marketing. Elsewhere, it’s been criticized as too western, too Christian or too immoral. Saudi Arabia bans the sale of red roses and other Valentine’s Day items, because it’s a western holiday named after a Christian saint. Malaysian religious authorities arrested more than 100 Muslim couples for celebrating Valentine’s Day in 2011 and Iran banned the printing of Valentine’s Day related materials.
The Origins of Cupid
How did a chunky, naked baby with wings, a bow and an arrow come to symbolize romance? Meet Cupid, off-spring of the Roman god Venus. Named after the Latin word for “desire” (cupido), legend has it that the chubby cherub can cause a victim to fall in love merely by shooting a golden arrow into his or her heart.