Saint Valentine’s Day, often simply called “Valentine’s Day”, is observed on February 14 each year. Today Valentine’s Day is celebrated in many countries around the world, mostly in the West, although it remains a working day in all of them.
The original “St. Valentine” was just a liturgical celebration of one or more early Christian saints named Valentinus. All the modern romantic connotations were added several centuries later by poets. Several martyrdom stories were invented for the various Valentines that belonged to 14th February, and added to later martyrologies. This celebration was deleted from the General Roman Calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI.
The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. By the 15th century, it had evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards.
Modern Valentine’s Day symbols include heart-shaped outlines, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards. In China, the common situation is the man gives chocolate, flowers or both to the woman that he loves. In Chinese, Valentine’s Day is called (simplified Chinese: 情人节; traditional Chinese: 情人節; pinyin: qíng rén jié).
In Chinese culture, the so-called “Chinese Valentine’s Day” observance is related to lovers, called “The Night of Sevens” (Chinese: 七夕; pinyin: Qi Xi). According to legend, the Cowherd star and the Weaver Maid star are normally separated by the milky way (silvery river) but are allowed to meet by crossing it on the 7th day of the 7th month of the Chinese lunar calendar. Today the “Chinese Valentine’s Day” (Qixi Festival) is celebrated on February 14 of the solar calendar each year.