February is often thought of as being a “blah” month. Christmas and New Year are finished and spring is still off in the distance, giving people in much of the world little to look forward to other than shoveling snow, pushing through slush and watching to see if groundhog Punxsutawney Phil is going to poke his nose through the ground on Groundhog Day to signal the impending end of winter.
If you’re been spending your winter playing casino table games free while you wait for spring to arrive, take a break and enjoy Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day is a time to celebrate relationships and romance and even friendships.
Take a break and enjoy some old movies, send cards, buy jewelry or perfume or play some of the online casino’s free online table games with your significant other to commemorate the special day. If you migrate over to the casino’s Real Mode you can achieve some winning online table games payouts to go out somewhere special for Valentine’s Day.
How Do YOU celebrate Valentine’s Day?
Most historians agree that Valentine’s Day was named after St. Valentine but since there are a dozen or so St. Valentines, the exact saint is a bit of a mystery. He does seem to have been one of two 3rd-century preachers who went to Rome to teach Christianity.
One of the St. Valentines – which of the two is still unclear – was martyred on February 14th in the year 269. The death coincides with the Roman pagan festival Lupercalia, a fertility festival that was celebrated from the 13th to the 15th of February in Rome. The festival involved animal sacrifice and ritualized sex.
After his death, Saint Valentine’s remains sat in the Catacombs of San Valentino for hundreds of years before moving to either Santa Maria in Cosmedin or the Basilica of Saint Valentine in Terni (there are 2 versions of which martyred St. Valentine inspired Valentine’s Day).
Both sites were pilgrimage sites, especially for beekeepers (the first St. Valentine was the patron saint of beekeepers) and people suffering from the plague (the second St. Valentine was the patron saint of people afflicted by the plague).
Chaucer, the medieval English poet, heard about St. Valentine and wrote a poem, Parlement of Foules – which actually refers to the mating pattern of birds – in which he connected Valentine's Day to love. The connection seems to have been all in his imagination but the idea caught on and lovers started to send each other love poems every February 14th.
By the 1800s couples in England were giving each other flowers and confectionary and sending greeting cards to each other to celebrate Valentine’s Day
Evolution of Valentine’s Day
The custom of exchanging Valentine’s Day Cards started in 1850 with Esther Howland who, as the daughter of a stationer in Worchester Massachusetts, started to mass-produce Valentine’s Day cards. Early cards featured poems, hearts, birds, flowers and cherubs.
Throughout the 19th century and into the 20th century mass-marketing turned Valentine’s Day into a major commercial event. Companies expanded the notion of love and how love can be depicted– focusing on lonely and isolated people -- as they cultivated new consumers.
Over the years celebration of Valentine’s Day expanded with gift-giving – everything from pieces of chocolate to expensive jewelry – trips, proposals, and more. Today Valentine’s Day is celebrated in many locations around the world including on every continent and within many varied cultures.
Valentine’s Day Around the World
Celebration of Valentine’s Day has spread around the world. Some of the ways that it is celebrated include:
South West China
The Sisters’ Meal Festival is celebrated on March 15th in southwest China to celebrate love. Women cook dishes of colored rice and dress in beautiful dresses with silver accessories as they offer the rice on silk fabric to young men.
If a man finds two chopsticks, it means that the relationship has a future. If he finds a clove of garlic it means that there’s no possibility of moving forward.
In Argentina El Día de los Enamorados is celebrated by lovers exchanging chocolates and other sweets. As well as orchids and roses As in other parts of South America many people plan large weddings and other festivals for Valentine’s Day.
In Japan, women give chocolate to boyfriends, lovers and even male co-workers. On March 14th the chocolate-givers morph into the chocolate-getters as anyone who received chocolate in February is expected to give white chocolates of equal or greater value to the person that gave them chocolate on February 14th.
In Valencia and many other areas of Spain the Day of Love is observed as the Feast of Saint Dionysus which is celebrated on October 9th. Men craft a “macadora” marzipan figurine which they give to girlfriends and wives. Colorful parades take place throughout Spain in many villages and towns.
Valentine's Day is not observed in Brazil because February 14th usually comes out at the same time as the massive nationwide Brazilian Carnival which is celebrated during the four days prior to Ash Wednesday.
Ash Wednesday generally falls between February 4 and March 10, depending on the year. Instead, Brazilians celebrate Dia dos Namorados on June 12th with traditional Valentine’s Day customs.
Researchers believe that the first-ever Valentine’s Day card was sent by Charles, the Duke of Orleans, to his wife from his prison cell in 1415.
In addition to the general exchange of gifts and cards, the French village of “Valentine” displays beautiful yards, homes, and trees between February 12 – 14 which have been decorated with roses, cards, and proposals for marriage. Many people travel to France during this time for the sole purpose of visiting the town during Valentine’s Day Week.
South Korean couples celebrate several special days every year. On the 14th of May they exchange flowers for the “Day of Roses” and on June 14th there’s the “Day of Kisses.” The “Day of Hugs” is on December 14th. April 14th is “Black Day| when single people eat black noodles.
February 14th is National Chocolate Day in Ghana. The government chose February 14th for this day to celebrate Ghana’s place as one of the largest cocoa-producing countries in the world in order to increase tourism. Throughout the country on February 14th there are special performances and musical events. Restaurants serve special cuisine on this day.
Estonia celebrates Valentine’s Day on February 14th with “Sobrapaev”, also known as “Friendship Day.” Everyone joins in to exchange gifts and good cheer.
Like Ghana, Bulgaria has dedicated February 14th to its winemaking industry by dubbing the day “San Trifon Zartan – Day of Winemakers”. The day is celebrated with…..wine.
Dydd Santes Dwynwen, a day similar to Valentine’s Day, has been celebrated in Wales since the 16th century by commemorating Saint Dwynwen the Welsh patron saint of lovers. Saint Dwynwen was the daughter of legendary king Brychan Brycheiniog who ruled Brycheiniog (Breconshire) in South Wales in the 5th century.
She had a tragic experience in love which led her to dedicate her life to god and lovers. In Wales, couples exchange handcrafted wooden spoons with each other to celebrate St Dwynwen's Day.
The Romanian winter coincides with the Romanian celebration of Valentine’s Day which is observed on February 24th. This is the day that young couples traditionally get engaged and wash their faces with snow for good luck. It’s also when young women go into the forests to pick flowers.