What Day Is Valentines Day?

What day is Valentines Day?

It would seem that it was Pope Gelasius in 496 AD who declared 14 February as the date to honor St Valentine, the patron saint of lovers.

February 14, now commonly known as Valentines Day is celebrated in many countries, and it is the second most observed holiday celebrated around the world after New Year.

This religious feast day is celebrated by the Anglican Church although this was removed from the Catholic Church's calendar of feasts in 1969 by Pope Paul VI. As this date is in honor of martyred saints, of whom there were 3 by the name of Valentine or Valentinus, it is also celebrated by the Eastern Orthodox Church, although on July 6th.

Interestingly, Brazil, a largely Catholic country, does not celebrate this holiday at all, February 14 falling too close either before or after the world famous Brazilian Carnivale. It seems Brazil receives many visitors at this time who are there to escape from the social pressures of Valentines Day at home.

The Brazilians do celebrate "Lovers Day" Dia dos Namorados on June 12, when couples exchange gifts of chocolates, flowers and cards. There are local rituals called simpatias which single women perform in the hope of finding a good husband. In Brazil, St Anthony, recognized as the marriage saint has his celebration, the date after, on June 13.

The simpatias are Brazilian spells performed on June 12, one of which includes sticking a brand new knife into a banana tree on midnight of June 12. The next day, St Anthony's day, the sap from the banana tree will form the first letter of the name of the future husband.

Here's another cute spell - The single girl buys a statue of St Anthony holding the baby Jesus. The girl removes the baby and tells the statute she won't return it until she has a boyfriend. To make sure the Saint knows she's serious, she turns the statue upside down!

Ok back to what day is Valentines Day?

Well in some countries, it is banned altogether! In fact in Malaysia, in 2011, 100 couples were arrested and charged for defying the law to not observe Valentines Day. Well, there's certainly no celebration at all for this holiday in some places.

Let's go to Israel - they too have a holiday celebrating love, on the 15th day of the month of Av which is generally in August. This Jewish holiday of Tu B'Av is the equivalent of Valentine's Day, when girls dressed in white dance around the vineyards while the boys wait for them and they exchange greeting cards, flowers and chocolates.

...and...Iran also celebrates love. The Sepandarmazgan, or Esfandegan, is a festival where people express love towards their mothers and wives and is also a celebration of earth in ancient Persian culture. It seems it has nothing to do with the Western holiday of Valentines Day other than the exchange of gifts and acknowledgement of love.

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