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Valentin: Saint of tenderness

Valentine’s Day is reserved for lovers only. But why an Italian bishop and martyr, of all people, became their patron saint is a complicated story.

Red roses and hearts – like the Christmas tree for Christmas, these two symbols belong to Valentine’s Day on February 14th.

 But why Saint Valentine was chosen as the patron of happy togetherness can not be clarified historically. 

Anyway: Valentin’s life has more questions and speculations than assured answers. 

The commemoration of the day may be for Valentin, who served as Bishop of Terni in Umbria in the third century and died a martyr around the year 268 in Rome. 

There are no direct sources for Valentine’s life; its existence is only accepted by later, unreliable reports.

Valentin, the healer

According to legend, the distinguished Athenian speaker invited Craton Valentin from Terni to Rome. Craton’s son suffered from a curved spine. 

After Valentin had healed Filius, the whole family should have converted to Christianity. Tearing out the historic core of the story is difficult – especially as there is another, celebrated on the same day Valentine. 

This Valentine of Rome is said to have been a priest who suffered martyrdom on 14 February 269 under Emperor Claudius Gothicus.


Feast day: February 14th

Patron of youth, lovers, travelers and beekeepers; for the preservation of virgin innocence, good engagement and marriage; against fainting, madness, epilepsy, gout, plague and uterine diseases


It is likely that Pope Julius I had a tomb built in Rome in the fourth century. 

The basilica is said to have been built with the money of a certain Valentin and therefore called „Valentini“. 

Later, the title of the church was regarded as the name of a saint, for which a so-called story of suffering was written: Thus, the basilica became the supposed grave site of the saint.

Why Valentine’s Day is the day of the lovers is not clear from the legends. An explanation ties in with the Roman gods. 

In ancient Rome, on February 14, the goddess Juno was remembered as the protector of marriage and family. 

The women got flowers for free. This worship then passed to Valentine’s Day.

Folk saint

In many cities of central Italy, St. Valentine was worshiped in antiquity. 

In the Middle Ages, he was one of the most popular saints of the church – comparable to Nicholas and Martin. 

In the late Middle Ages, it was customary for young couples to be „destined for each other“ on Valentine’s Day.

 After exchanging gifts, they remained engaged for a year before they were allowed to marry.

In many countries Valentin is revered as the patron saint of lovers and saints of tenderness. 

For more than 500 years women and men in England and Scotland have been choosing a „Valentine“ or a „Valentine“ on Valentine’s Day. 

So William Shakespeare lets Ophelia sing in „Hamlet“: 

„Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s Day, probably early on in time, and I, a maiden, at the window-stroke, want to be your ‚Valentine.“ 

In Germany, especially the flower industry honors the day – and makes some sales with long overdue, but all the more flowery declarations of love.


No „I love you“ in Japan

An „I-love-you“ exists the way we know and use it, not in Japan. There is the love 愛 • Ai (yes, that’s the sign that the tough guys get tattooed on the upper arms) and there’s the sentence A し て い る • Ai shite iru, which you translate as „I love you“ can, but NEVER say.

„You’ll hear that from me when you die in my arms at the end of our lives!“ Daisuke told me.

Is „愛 し て い る • Ai shite iru“ more understandable?

The phrase has a much greater significance than our simple „I love you“. Something that you can not say all the time, but for the one, for the great moment in life, must preserve.

There is still the 大好 き ❤ Daisuki. Means: I like you very much and is almost pronounced like Daisuke: Daiske Daiski.

Grammatically not quite correct, but it sounds so great in the station wagon (^_^)

„Love“ not with words, but with little things

His love is shown in Japan in a different way. For example with food. When I got up early in the morning to have breakfast or a lunch box for work (bento box), I expressed my love for it. 

I never felt like I had to do that. On the other hand, Daisuke has shown me his love by deliriously happy about everything boiled and jumped on it, never without saying how delicious everything is and never, without in the end to thank for everything.

There are so many little things that can show you that you love, respect and value others.

Valentine’s Day ❤ Is it about love?

The younger ones are more about showing his crush that they like him. And you do that in Japan with chocolate.

When I found out about it for the first time, I was not so surprised. Because already in January I saw everywhere in the shops heart and chocolate and also quite often „I love you! „Great, I really like chocolate!“

But I was surprised when I learned in my Japanese class that only women give chocolate to men. And horrified, „Waaaas? I can not get anything? „

„You get even more! But not for Valentine’s Day. We have clever business people here. They just made two out of Valentine’s Day in Japan. „

On February 14, the men get chocolate from the women, and on March 14, the men give the women back chocolate. Previously, white chocolate was given away, so that was also ruled out that the men just give away the Valentine’s Day chocolate. But dark chocolate is better for many women because it has fewer calories. The should then but about more expensive (3 times as expensive is the rule).

This is the so-called White ワ ト ー ー • White Day.

A Korean woman joined in our conversation at the moment and explained to us: „In Korea, there is even the 블랙 데이 • Black Day on 14 April. All singles and those who have not received anything can then eat black noodles. „

I think that’s cool.

Does not exist in Japan yet. Could I imagine but also quite well, also marketing technology.

Why women give chocolate to men (!!!)

I once heard that it had to do with the emancipation in the 60s. The women became more self-determined. Still very reserved in Japan, but it was a start to take the first step with a man.

But a second, quite plausible explanation could be this: The shops wanted to market chocolate for Valentine’s Day. Target group: ?

Who goes shopping regularly? Who is prone to romance, sweeties and chocolate? Who manages the money in Japan? Women, women, women.

Chocolate for the favorite ❤ チ ョ ❤ Honmei Choco

The chocolate for the person you care about should be something very special. One wants to show his love with it. So best homemade.

Super. It’s not enough for me to stand in my kitchen for my favorite man every day and now I can make chocolate myself. And Daisuke does not like chocolate that much. And everywhere there is really great chocolate to buy. So why do it yourself?

The obligatory chocolate ❤ チ ❤ Giri-Choco

The purchased chocolate goes to the men you deal with in your environment, ie colleagues, good business partners or friends.

On Valentine’s Day, Daisuke came home with 8 boxes of chocolate (everything bought, not homemade, I checked immediately!). You can now guess who has eaten the bulk of the chocolate at the end.

That was not the only chocolate I „got“. Many of my students had made chocolate themselves. 

It was given away not only to boys, but also as Tomo-Choco (the girlfriends of chocolate) to the dearest friends and teachers.

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