Although the sounds of smooching aren’t audible and the cooking of special Valentine meals aren’t able to be smelled, we know that millions around the world have been and are celebrating Valentine’s Day today. Last year, two billion Valentine cards alone were sent in the entire world despite the obscurity of the origin of the holiday. To this day, Valentine’s Day remains to be one of the most famous secular holidays shared by countless couples in various parts of the world.
This year, the international attention seems to be focused on mainly two things: the couples’ attempt to break the 32 hour world-record for kissing in Pattya, Thailand and American gay rights activists demanding same-sex marriage on this romantic day.
The kissing record, now broken today by seven couples, was 32 hours, 7 minutes and 14 seconds. The current record is now currently over 33 hours. Gay rights activists including gay couples are still facing obstacles in legislation and other groups of people who feel same-sex marriage should not be legal. Activists argue that they’re just as human as anyone else and that their loves are just as legitimate as everyone else’s.
Many people often try to find out the true origin of Valentine’s Day. Some sources may say that Valentine’s Day originated from the Roman religion or was officially endorsed as a holiday by a Pope Gelasius but really, the origin is still unclear.
In history, there are various martyrs and saints called Valentine so it’s hard to choose which one exactly started it. However, one legend tells of a priest named Valentine who secretly married young men chosen to be soldiers by the Roman Emperor in the city of Rome itself. The Emperor at that time (the 3rd century) decreed that the best soldiers were unmarried soldiers. Believing in love, the priest Valentine married the soldiers off in privacy despite the Emperor’s policy.
Then, there is another legend that tells of a prisoner called Valentine around the Renaissance. It is said that this particular Valentine fell in love with a woman who passed by his cell’s window every day. Right before his lonely and sad death in prison, Valentine wrote a letter to his crush signing “Love, your Valentine” which presumably was the first Valentine letter.
Legends pass and fade, but Valentine’s Day has permeated throughout numerous cultures up to the 21st century first starting in Europe and then being carried over to the Americas in the forms of homemade gifts and small tokens of affection. In the late 1800′s, the first Valentine cards surfaced as mass-produced products which set the stage for the commercialization of this holiday.
(Cover Photo: Elev8)