Valentine's Day is known to most of us as a day when we should pay attention to the one we love with roses, chocolates, cards or anything else that shows our appreciation and love. It is a day that we have largely taken from the United States. Valentine's Day has hung with us for a long time and of course it's nice to pay attention to love. But why do we really celebrate?
There are many stories about the background to Valentine's Day and the thread is, despite the day, not completely (love) red. However, all stories have one thing in common: Saint Valentine. Valentin lived in the late 200s and married couples in love through Christian weddings, something that Emperor Claudius II forbade. Valentin, when it came to the Emperor's knowledge, was sentenced to death for this and executed on 14 February.
During the Middle Ages, a tradition arose in Great Britain where the celebration during Valentine's Day had an element of romance. There, February 14 was considered to be the day when birds form pairs and then young people were also mated together "at play" to be a "couple" until next year. The tradition was first established in the United States in the 1840s when it was announced to insert Valentine's cards in the newspapers. Thereafter, the day adopted increasingly commercial signs.
Valentine's Day in Sweden
In 1985, Valentine's Day was introduced in Swedish calendars and was widely used in Sweden. The day as it is noticed in Sweden has very little to do with its religious background and more to do with the American, commercial variant with a focus on gifts, chocolate, flowers and courtship.