Valentine's Day


Valentine's Day

***** Location: Worldwide
***** Season: Spring, Dry Season in Tropics
***** Category: Observance


The History of Saint Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day started in the time of the Roman Empire. In ancient Rome, February 14th was a holiday to honor Juno. Juno was the Queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses. The Romans also knew her as the Goddess of women and marriage. The following day, February 15th, began the Feast of Lupercalia.

The lives of young boys and girls were strictly separate. However, one of the customs of the young people was name drawing. On the eve of the festival of Lupercalia the names of Roman girls were written on slips of paper and placed into jars. Each young man would draw a girl's name from the jar and would then be partners for the duration of the festival with the girl whom he chose. Sometimes the pairing of the children lasted an entire year, and often, they would fall in love and would later marry.

CLICK for more photos Under the rule of Emperor Claudius II Rome was involved in many bloody and unpopular campaigns. Claudius the Cruel was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. He believed that the reason was that roman men did not want to leave their loves or families. As a result, Claudius cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome. The good Saint Valentine was a priest at Rome in the days of Claudius II. He and Saint Marius aided the Christian martyrs and secretly married couples, and for this kind deed Saint Valentine was apprehended and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off.

He suffered martyrdom on the 14th day of February, about the year 270. At that time it was the custom in Rome, a very ancient custom, indeed, to celebrate in the month of February the Lupercalia, feasts in honor of a heathen god. On these occasions, amidst a variety of pagan ceremonies, the names of young women were placed in a box, from which they were drawn by the men as chance directed.

The pastors of the early Christian Church in Rome endeavored to do away with the pagan element in these feasts by substituting the names of saints for those of maidens. And as the Lupercalia began about the middle of February, the pastors appear to have chosen Saint Valentine's Day for the celebration of this new feast. So it seems that the custom of young men choosing maidens for valentines, or saints as patrons for the coming year, arose in this way.


More about St. Valentine


St. Valentine's Day in English Literature

Motives connected with St. Valentine

Worldwide use


Hundreds of years ago in England, many children dressed up as adults on Valentine's Day. They went singing from home to home. One verse they sang was:

Good morning to you, valentine;
Curl your locks as I do mine---
Two before and three behind.
Good morning to you, valentine.

In Wales wooden love spoons were carved and given as gifts on February 14th. Hearts, keys and keyholes were favorite decorations on the spoons. The decoration meant, "You unlock my heart!"

In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who their valentines would be. They would wear these names on their sleeves for one week. To wear your heart on your sleeve now means that it is easy for other people to know how you are feeling.

Some people used to believe that if a woman saw a robin flying overhead on Valentine's Day, it meant she would marry a sailor. If she saw a sparrow, she would marry a poor man and be very happy. If she saw a goldfinch, she would marry a millionaire.

Think of five or six names of boys or girls you might marry, As you twist the stem of an apple, recite the names until the stem comes off. You will marry the person whose name you were saying when the stem fell off.

Pick a dandelion that has gone to seed. Take a deep breath and blow the seeds into the wind. Count the seeds that remain on the stem. That is the number of children you will have.


France (or rather Japan :o)

The Mona Lisa
A copy of a painting - The Mona Lisa (77cm x 53cm) displayed at a counter of Japan's Mary Chocolate in a department store in Tokyo, 14 February 2003. The Japanese chocolate shop displays its version of the world famous Mona Lisa painting, made from 20 kilograms of chocolate at a department store in Tokyo. Women give chocolates to their boyfriends, husbands and male colleagues on Valentine's Day in Japan.

The fan in her hand shows the kanji for "Matsuri" Festival, and she wears a Japanese Happi Coat for Festivals.



Barentain Dii バレンタインデー Valentine Day
.... barentain no hi バレンタインの日 (ばれんたいんのひ)

You know that Japanese St.Valentin's Day is very different from the original one now.
Because ofthe efforts and advertising tactics of the chocolate companies, the custom of St. Valentine's Day was accepted widely in Japan, and having passed though the Japanese groupism, it transformed strangely. Nowadays in many offices, every woman employee cooperates in paying money and the representative buys chocolates and puts them on the desks of each man employee on the morning of St.Valentine's Day.

Women in the office feel that the man who doesn't get a chocolate is pitiful. On the other hand, if they gave chocolate to a few men whom they liked, the jealousy and bad feeling of the others would be troublesome for them. So they selected the safest and useless way as an obligation. In Japanese groupism, sameness is important. At first, a chocolate had a meaning of love or goodwill to the man or the boy. And then, the meaning of friendship or play was added and recently even the meaning of duty (giri-choko) was added.
Miserable metamorphosis !

February 2005
A Volkswagen car covered with white chocolate of strawberry flavor, using 150 liters of chocolate. Children put on more candies and cookies.

Here is a picture from the Volkswagen in 2004:

Japanese patissiers decorate a chocolate covered Volkswagen’s New Beetle vehicle with colourful chocolate, cookies and bread at a shopping mall in Tokyo, one week before St Valentine’s Day. —AFP
Chocolate-Coated Volkswagen Displayed For Valentine's Day In Tokyo

. Christian Celebrations in Japanese Kigo   



Despite the little knowledge about its origin, the majority of Kenyans, especially the urban folks, believe Valentine is the celebration of love. The colour red is the predominant mark for this day, and it is exhibited in flowers and clothes.

In Nairobi, St. Valentine's Day is highly commercialised. Flower, clothes, shoe and
other accessory vendors and supermarkets, as well as hawkers, capitalise on this occasion and stock red coloured Valentine's items at strategic points to attract customer attention. Since red roses are expensive and in short supply, traders substitute them with plastic ones. Husbands and wives buy each other gifts and flowers and they dress in red; so do lovers. Couples go out to exclusive joints to
spent a romantic moment together. Restaurants, hotels, pubs and resorts are decorated in red and special entertainments and menus are prepared to match their clients' needs.

The best climax about St Valentine's Day however is the renewal of love vows and re-affirming love and faithfulness to each other in our relationships.

~ Patrick Wafula

. St Valentine's Day

Things found on the way


saint Valentine'd day
the Saturday morning sun
warms my face

near Valentine's day
a crimson petunia

Saint Valentine's Day--
more broken hearts than roses
if the war

appears at the Anti-War Haiku Wall

catches the eye
St Valentine's day

also appearing at PatchWork Haiku Page

by gillena cox


Another way to celebrate Valentine

sipping champagne
enjoying the tiny sounds
of living alone

susan delphine delaney plano, texas
appeared in bottlerockets and, later, the red moon anthology


Valentine's Day —
The couple counseling
postponed again.

Asahi Haikuist Network, February 20, 2009

An Sankt Valentin
der Paarbeartungstermin
nochmals verschoben

Beate Conrad


Global Haiku Tradition Kukai 2 (February 14, 2001)
Millikin University, Spring 2001

Grade school Valentine--
Should I give him
Garfield or Scooby Doo

Amanda Young
Many more are here


Valentine's Day Contemporary Haiku

valentine's day
in the vase
a dead rose


And many more are here


Some fun poems about relationships on a Valentine competition.

Take some small issues,
bake for two months at high heat.
Relationship’s done!

-- Daniel Westreich


Valentine's Day 2010 ... Love Day
co-incided with the beginning of the Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year...
the growl of the Tiger
on Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day
in the flower market...
bundles of roses

Chinese New Year...
a lady in red awaits
her blind date

New Year's Day...
a toddler takes a step
after a fumble

Year of the Tiger...
if only I could wear
a red terno

Love Day...
red shirt for New Year
and for my date too

Cupid's way...
I mark with rose petals
where my heart resides

Heart Day...
the sun casts intensely
on faceless partners

Willie Bongcaron, Manila 2010


Valentine 2010 in Kenya

a little girl undusts her
fallen flowers

red decorations on the pears
vendors wheelbarrow

a hawker sells plastic roses
at the local market

valentine morning--
youthles church for the
morning service

red dressed--
she slips over a rotten mango
at the market

hussein haji

Kenya Saijiki Forum

. valetine day 2010
from the Peacocks in Kenya


the only rain here
is love

kenneth daniels (Guyana)


. . . . . The Year 2001

Valentine's Day
she finds out where he hid

Valentine's Day
bamboo shoots emerge
from the ground

Valentine's Night
he curls up
in bed

Valentine’s night
eating chocolate hearts
from my e-lover

Chen-ou Liu


break up
at Valentine's Day -
headless gummi bears

Heike Gewi


Valentine's Day
a dozen red roses spells:
"I love you"

Valentine's Day
missing the tender kiss
when I wake up

Valentine's Day
roses and kisses and hugs...
and endearments

Willie Bongcaron


Valentine's day-
he sends her sms
of love

Sunil Uniyal, India


Valentine's Day
we fall in love again
over B&W movies

Valentine’s Day
my wife reads up
on Henry VIII

Alan Summers


Soweto market--
new red stalls mushroom
the roadsides

MORE Valentine Haiku from Kenya by
. Patrick Wafula



. Valentine's Day - 2012 .


to Basho
Issa and Shiki . . .

Elaine Andre, 2013

Related words

***** Bonifacio Day Philippines



anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing these, Gabi.

Gabi Greve said...


Dear St Valentine . . .
At the Dublin church where relics of St Valentine are kept, people write messages to the saint about situations you won’t find on a greetings card
. . .


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