Valentine’s Day is a holiday that has traditionally been the feast day of Saint Valentine, one of three saints in the Catholic Church who were all martyred for their beliefs or works in the name of faith. In other European cultures, Valentine’s Day has its origins in pagan festivals or natural mating cycles of birds.
Today, Valentine’s Day is a holiday celebrated in various ways throughout the world, including countries such as Australia, Canada, France, Mexico, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Valentine’s Day Traditions in the United States
Valentine’s Day was brought to the United States in the nineteenth century by British settlers. By 1847, Esther Howland had made the first mass-produced commercial Valentine card in the United States.
By the twentieth century, the giving of chocolates and other gifts became popular in the United States. As the century progressed, roses and other tokens of affection became popular, and in the 1980s jewelry companies began promoting Valentine’s Day as an occasion for giving and receiving fine jewelry and engagement rings.
Valentine’s Day in the United States Today
Valentine’s Day has become a largely commericialized phenomenon in the United States. Stores stock Valentine’s Day-themed plush animals, snacks, gifts, cards, and many other products to capitalize on the holiday’s popularity.
Some people choose not to celebrate the holiday because of the large amount of commercialism that surrounds the day. Others celebrate “Singles Awareness Day” on February 14th to celebrate not having a significant other.
Popular Valentine’s Day gifts include cards, chocolate candies, flowers, jewelry, and other tokens of affection. Many make handmade gifts for their friends, families, or significant others to express their affections.
Teenagers and adults often look for dates or go out as a couple to celebrate the February 14th holiday. Outings can range from a dinner and a movie to weekend vacations at resorts or in nearby cities. Adults may also hold private parties or attend public parties to celebrate with large groups of friends.
Elementary schools, preschools, and day cares may also host classroom Valentine’s Day parties, where each student brings in enough small Valentine’s Day cards for the entire class. Prior to the event, students may decorate bags or boxes to hold Valentine’s Day goodies until the day of the classroom party, which often involves snacks, games, or a craft activity.
Valentine’s Day is a popular holiday celebrated by many people around the world. In the United States, Valentine’s Day celebrations include a mix of commercialism and sentimentality that varies from couple to couple and region to region.