VALENTINE’S DAY – THE PINKEST DAY OF THE YEAR <3
“Friendship isn’t a big thing—it’s a million little things.” -Paulo Coelho
It is impossible not to notice that Valentine’s Day is coming. Suddenly everything around us is heart-shaped and pink. There is friendship, admiration, and love in the air.
In Finland, Valentine’s Day is called Ystävänpäivä, Friend’s Day, and we celebrate the friendship more than romantic love.
WHAT FRIENDSHIP REALLY IS?
“A friend is one who overlooks your broken fence and admires the flowers in your garden.” -Unknown
Encyclopædia Britannica, the oldest encyclopedia in English, describes friendship as follows: “friendship, a state of enduring affection, esteem, intimacy, and trust between two people. In all cultures, friendships are important relationships throughout a person’s life span.”
All in all, friendship is all that and so much more. A friend is a person with whom you want to spend time and with whom conversation is effortless, but on the other hand, silence is also pleasant. A true friend knows you and your habits and walks by your side when you’re at your best, but especially when you’re not. It is possible to share obvious common interests with a friend, while sometimes it can be difficult for an outsider to see what the link between good friends is. Every friendship is unique, and every friendship is worth more than gold.
VALENTINE’S DAY BELIEFS AND HABITS
“Will you be my Valentine?“
Valentine’s Day is an old celebration. It is conceivable that Lupercalia, the celebration of the goddess Juno and the god Pan in ancient Rome, has served as a model for the Valentine’s Day we know today.
Later, in the year 350, the day was dedicated to the Roman saint Valentinus, the guardian of lovers. Stories mention that in those days Roman soldiers entering marriage was not considered beneficial for them. Both marriage and having a family waiting at home were seen as undermining the soldiers‘ will to fight. However, Valentinus, that old romantic, believed in love and secretly married the young couples. As an unfortunate punishment for this act, Valentinus was sentenced to death, and the day of his death, February 14th, is still consecrated to love around the world today.
In England and France, a celebration full of love has been observed as early as the 14th century, but the actual holiday was declared in 1537 in England. In the 19th century, the celebration of Valentine’s Day also landed in the United States, where it is a great commemoration of romantic love.
Big celebrations are often associated with funny beliefs and customs. It is believed that on Valentine’s Day even birds find a partner for themselves. Young, unmarried women, on the other hand, were excited to leave home on that day of love, for the first man they would encounter would be the one.
And then there is this lovely custom of sending an anonymous Valentine’s Day greeting of secret admiration. Have you ever written the romantic words “Will you be my Valentine?” on a card and used only a mysterious pseudonym to identify yourself?
VALENTINE’S DAY IN FINLAND
“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” -Helen Keller
Valentine’s Day is observed in Finland as a celebration of friends and friendship, but romantic love is also considered. Valentine’s Day cards and gifts are sent and given to friends and family as well as to objects of admiration and love.
The celebration of Valentine’s Day arrived in Finland only in the late 1980s and wasn’t marked on the calendar as an official holiday until 1996.
Cards with millions of hearts, delicious chocolates, bouquets, and small gifts are exchanged. Tables at restaurants are booked and cups of coffee are brewed at home (we drink A LOT of coffee here in Finland). Long walks are enjoyed in the nature with a good friend. Time is spent with and calls are made to those who have a special place in our hearts.
We also send huge quantities of Valentine’s Day cards in Finland. Although e-cards and other digital greetings have become more common, the traditional postcard remains the most popular form of remembrance. I recently wrote a blog post specifically about Valentine’s Day cards. You should read it too!
SEND YOUR VALENTINE’S DAY GREETINGS ON TIME
As Valentine’s Day is getting closer, mail carriers have more work to do than usual, so be sure to send your Valentine’s Day greetings and gifts on time. Look through Lovi’s selection and choose a surprise for your loved ones!
If you can’t figure out what to write for a Valentine’s Day greeting, I have a suggestion for you. An unknown person has written:
“Because of you, I laugh a little harder, cry a little less, and smile a lot more.”
This little sentence is sure to delight your loved ones.
Happy Valentine’s Day! <3