Valentine's Day Guide
Saint Valentine's Day is celebrated throughout the world. This special day is a time for lovers to celebrate each other. People can celebrate their lovers in many different ways. In the United States, some of the most popular ways to celebrate a significant other includes going out to dinner, buying chocolates and flowers, sending love notes, and of course, hugging and kissing. Finding the right gift for your significant other can be challenging. This Valentine's Day guide can help you find the perfect gift for your love. So whether you plan on taking your lover to dinner or buying her/him a pair of diamond earrings, this guide will help make your Valentine's Day that much more exquisite.
History of Valentine's Day
Saint Valentine’s Day, usually shortened to "Valentine's Day," is the day for love and romance. It is the most romantic day in the year and it is the day when people across the world exchange candy, flowers, and gifts between loved ones. This holiday is celebrated all over the world, including Denmark, Slovenia, Costa Rica, Japan, and Egypt. Many of these place celebrate Valentine's Day on February 14th, while other celebrate this holiday on another day in the year.
There is much debate over how this holiday developed. Why is this day called "Valentine's Day?" How has it come to be a day for celebrating love?
One legend professes that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. Back then Rome was under the rule of Emperor Claudius the Second. The emperor decided that single men made better soldiers on the battlefield than those men who had wives and families. The emperor outlawed marriage for young men who were his primary source of potential soldiers. Priests across the empire were forbidden from conducting marriages. Valentine realized the injustice of the decree. He defied Emperor Claudius and he continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. He became well known among lovers for his bold actions. The priest had stood in defense of love and romance. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius condemned him and ordered that he be put to death. Since then, the martyred saint was venerated through the tradition of a feast held in his honor. The feast and celebration evolved into our modern day Valentine’s Day celebrations!
In the past, Valentine’s Day was most closely associated with the mutual exchange of love notes in the form of “valentines”. Before the 19th century, the most popular love notes were handwritten with symbols and heart shaped outlines, doves, and images of the Cupid. These notes were contained exquisite calligraphy and passionate poems. They were the historical equivalents of the Valentine’s Day gifts of our present day celebrations. It was only after 1847 that machine-printed greeting cards became popular. The sending of Valentine cards became very fashionable in nineteenth century Great Britain. Since then the greeting card industry witnessed quantum leaps in the volume of Valentine cards sold every year. The U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that more than one billion Valentines are sent each year worldwide! Today, along with greeting cards, Valentine’s Day witnesses the exchange many gifts. The most popular gifting novelties for Valentine’s Day are chocolate boxes, teddy bears, perfumes, and jewelery. Celebrate Valentine’s Day with your loved ones and be sure to share and exchange plenty of gifts, greetings, and festivity!
Valentine's Day around the world
Now that we know a little bit about how Valentine’s Day celebrations came to be, let us take a look at how Valentine’s Day is celebrated across the world. Different cultures and nations across the globe celebrate Valentine’s Day in different ways. In America, we are familiar with the exchange of cards and gifts between loved ones. Roses and chocolates are the most commonly exchanged Valentine’s Day gifts. Around 1980’s, fine jewelery became a very popular gifting choice. In Canada, the festival is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm. Valentine’s Day balls and parties are organized all over the country where people express their love for their spouses and sweethearts and there is always the exchange of gifts. In Canada, there is a tradition wherein children exchange Valentine’s Day gifts with their friends. Songs, skits, and plays are organized by schools to celebrate the joy of love.
In Australia, Valentine’s Day is a much-celebrated festival. People in Australia celebrate Valentine's Day festival and they use the opportunity to strengthen bonds of love with family, friends, colleagues, and neighbors with simple acts of love. In Britain, Valentine’s Day is celebrated with a lot of cheerful enthusiasm and charm. People express their love for their beloved on this day by presenting them with flowers, cards, chocolates, and other special gifts. One wonderful custom they have is the singing of special songs by children. These children are rewarded with gifts of candy, fruit or money. In some regions delectable Valentine buns are baked with caraway seeds, plums or raisins. Another popular tradition is the penning of verses. Weeks before the festival, magazines publish sonnets and verses to honor Saint Valentine’s Day. The custom owes its origin to the poets of Britain who penned many best-loved romantic verses associated with Saint Valentine.
In Japan, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in an interesting manner on two different dates. One February 14th, women present gifts to their boyfriends or husbands. The favor is returned to ladies on the White Day which is celebrated on March 14th when men pamper women who gave them gifts a month before on Valentine’s Day. They gift a lot of chocolates and the special ones which are called “hon-mei” are meant for boyfriends, lovers or husbands.
In some countries, they have other days to celebrate love and romance. In Romania, the traditional holiday for lovers is “Dragobete” which is celebrated on February 24th. In Slovenia, the day of love is traditionally March 12th, also known as Saint Gregory’s day. In Brazil, the “Dia dos Namorados” which means “Day of the Enamored” is the day for love. It is celebrated on June 12th. It is also celebrated by exchanging gifts, chocolates, cards, and flower bouquets.
Valentine’s Day is a beautiful celebration of love and romance. It crosses all boundaries of nations, races, religions, and continents. It is a universal festivity for lovers across the globe to rejoice and celebrate their love. Cultures, traditions, and customs might differ but the language of love is common to all of mankind and Valentine’s Day celebrates just that.
International Valentine's Day gifts
If you want to give a Valentine's Day gift to someone overseas, check out these gift ideas for some inspiration.
Teddy Bear with chocolate:
One Valentine's Day gift that everyone will love is a teddy bear with chocolate. You can try gifting this cuddly bear surrounded by dark and milk chocolates and caramels. Wrap the bear in lovely red bows. Does your love not like chocolate? You can always try gifting a stuffed animal with gummy candies, nuts, dried fruits, or wine. Be sure to send your teddy as a surprise! This is an unexpected "I love you."
Perfume or cologne:
Allure by Chanel is a clean, warm, and sexy perfume. This perfume is a subtle fragrance that the special lady in your life can wear day or night. Need a cologne for the special man in your life? You can always try the classic Ralph Lauren cologne for your man.
Guide to ring buying
The most important part of buying your loved one a ring is finding out what his or her ring size is. Many online merchants such as www.bluenile.com provide free plastic ring sizers, which are the easiest way to measure ring size. If you can't wait for one to ship and need one immediately, you can print out one here: Printable ring sizer. Of course, discrepancy is of the upmost importance when picking out jewelry to surprise your loved one. It would look odd, and plainly obvious, if you were to measure her ring finger in the middle of watching TV. Take a look in the jewelry box and pick out a favorite cocktail ring to approximate his or her ring size just to make sure you've got the right fit.
Also, keep in mind that many people have knuckles that have a greater diameter than the part of the finger that a ring may normally be worn. Be sure that the ring you get fits over your beloved's knuckles if this is the case.
Ring setting guide
The precious metal in which the ring's band is crafted from is just as important as the gem. The most common precious metals used in fine jewelry are sterling silver, gold (yellow and white), and platinum.
You will usually find jewelry made from sterling silver. This is an alloy of silver and copper. Sterling silver is 92.5 percent by weight of silver with 7.5 percent by weight of another metal, usually copper. This alloy makes the metal stronger while still gleaming the soft white of pure silver. Silver is also one of the most affordable metals you can find for jewelry. Simply remember to find the right size for your love when shopping for sterling silver rings.
Gold is a precious metal and a chemical element. Pure gold is yellow, but a lot of yellow gold jewelry is not made from pure gold. Gold is often alloyed with other elements to harden the metal or give it a different color. When gold is alloyed with silver (or another white metal), it becomes "white gold." When gold and copper are alloyed, it becomes "rose gold." Yellow gold rings are a very popular ring setting. Keep in mind that most gold, including yellow gold jewelry, is probably alloyed with another element.
White gold is an alloy of gold and another metal. This metal is often a white metal, including manganese, nickel, or palladium. White gold is a gorgeous metal for ring bands. It's clean and charming! Shop for white gold rings for your love for this Valentine's Day.
Platinum is silver/white/gray color much like silver metal. It is a precious metal like gold and silver with a chemical symbol of Pt. Platinum got its name from "platina del Pinto," which is Spanish for "little silver of the Pinto River." Platinum is extremely rare and extremely expensive. Platinum jewelry is quite expensive, but quite beautiful. Shop for invaluable platinum rings for your beloved if you want to give her/him something extra special.
The gem is the centerpiece of the ring. Pick one that reflects your love and the personality of the recipient. If your Valentine enjoys fancy dinners and luxury cars, she might love a 2 carat diamond ring on this special occasion. If your honey is a free spirited hippie who loves nature and everything to do with the environment, you would be hard pressed to find a better option than the unique and mysterious carnelian ring. These rings represent a oneness with nature. However, the range of gemstones, both precious and semi-precious, are wide and varied.
So what gem should you get? A diamond is a classic choice, but if you want to give an exceptional gift, a birthstone is both personal and special. Birthstones are a more modern and eclectic choice; a birthstone can add a unique flare to any engagement ring! If your loved one has peculiar tastes and shuns conformity, perhaps a ring with his or gemstone will bring a sense of intimacy.
Additional ring ideas
Giving your love a ring is a classic way to demonstrate your devotion to your partner. Often times people think that giving a ring to your partner is only appropriate during a marriage proposal. But rings can be given on other occasions too! Maybe you want to present your love with a ring as a special reminder of your relationship. However, if you are planning on proposing this Valentine's Day, here are a few ring ideas to inspire you.
Heart engagement rings:
The heart shape is a symbol of love. Combine a heart shaped diamond with a gorgeous band and you have a winning engagement ring! Find small or large heart shaped diamonds and pair it with yellow or white gold. Your love with adore these stunning heart engagement rings.
Gold solitaire diamond ring:
A gold solitaire diamond ring is a classic engagement ring. Find yellow or white gold for the band, depending on what your beloved likes most. This solitaire diamond ring is a clear statement of eternal love and devotion.
White gold engagement rings:
White gold engagement rings are very popular today. Shop for a brilliantly cut diamond in a pearl, oval, round, or Princess shape! You can also find white gold engagement rings with different gemstones or with simply pearls. These rings will surely make your love smile with adoration.