Written By: UMA Editorial Team |

Published on: February 15, 2024

The History of Valentine’s Day: A Story of Love and Sacrifice

In the annals of history, one figure stands as a beacon of love and compassion amidst the shadows of persecution and imprisonment: Valentine, a priest whose selfless acts and ultimate sacrifice gave birth to the enduring tradition of Valentine’s Day.

While imprisoned, Valentine not only cared for his fellow prisoners but also showed kindness to the blind daughter of his jailor. Legend has it that he miraculously cured her blindness, and before his execution, he wrote her a heartfelt love message signed ‘from your Valentine’. On February 14th, in the year 270, Valentine met his fate. Thus, the history of Valentine’s Day can be traced back to 3rd century Rome, with the martyrdom of a priest known as Valentinus, now revered as St. Valentine.

Every year on February 14th, millions of people around the world commemorate this special day by exchanging heart-shaped cards and indulging in delectable Valentine’s Day chocolates. This day, dedicated to love and romance, is celebrated in various cultures, each with its unique traditions and customs. Join us on a journey as we explore how different countries embrace and cherish this day of love.


United States – Go All Out

In the United States, Valentine’s Day is a time for grand gestures. Americans spare no expense in expressing their affection for one another. The day sees a whopping $18 billion spent on candies, cards, chocolates, flowers, and jewelry. While greeting cards are the most common gift, they are not limited to couples. Family members, friends, and even schoolchildren exchange cards with messages of friendship, affection, and appreciation. Interestingly, the most popular Valentine’s Day candy in America isn’t a box of chocolates, but the iconic conversation hearts with sweet messages like “Be Mine” and “Kiss Me.”


Fun fact: The production of these candy hearts is so extensive that there are enough for every person in the world to have one!


South Korea and Japan – Pamper the Men

In South Korea and Japan, Valentine’s Day is a day for women to shower their male partners, family members, and coworkers with chocolates as a token of their affection and appreciation. However, ladies, don’t worry! The favor is returned a month later on March 14th, known as White Day. On this day, men reciprocate with cake, candy, and flowers, expressing their gratitude and love.


The UK – Go on Dream Dates 

In the United Kingdom, couples take Valentine’s Day seriously. Lovebirds all across the Isles exchange gifts of flowers, chocolates, and jewelry. In the evening, they indulge in a romantic dinner out on the town or opt for a cozy candle-lit spread at home. Love is truly in the air on this special day.


Finland – Celebrate Friends 

For those flying solo, Finland is the perfect place to be on Valentine’s Day. In this country, the day is all about celebrating with friends. It is even called “Friend’s Day” in Finnish, rather than Valentine’s Day. While the pink rose is the official flower, friends are delighted to receive gifts, cards, or candy to commemorate their bond.

Learn more on how celebrate with your guy or gal this valentines day in these blogs:


India – Love and Proposals 

In India, Valentine’s Day is a time for exchanging cards, flowers, chocolates, and gifts with loved ones. These tokens of affection are often adorned with symbols of love, such as hearts, roses, and cupids. Many couples choose to go out for a romantic date, such as a dinner, a movie, or a picnic. Some even take this opportunity to propose or get married on Valentine’s Day, adding an extra layer of significance to the occasion. Interestingly, in India, some people also celebrate Valentine’s Day as “Cow Hug Day,” highlighting the immense benefits of cows.


China – Sisters’ Meal Festival

In Miao, southwest China, a unique festival called the “Sisters’ Meal” is celebrated on March 15th. Women dress in stunning silver accessories and beautiful dresses, creating one of the most gorgeous Valentine’s Day customs around the world. During the festival, they cook various dishes of colored rice, which are offered on silk fabric to young men walking on the roads. The destiny of their love is determined by the object found in the chosen rice. Two chopsticks symbolize love, while a clove of garlic signifies that love is over before it even begins.

Did You Know?

In Brazil, Valentine’s Day is not celebrated on February 14th. Instead, Brazilians commemorate Saint Anthony, the patron saint of marriage and matchmaking, on June 12th. This day is filled with festivities and is an opportunity for couples to express their love and commitment to one another.

Brazil – Love in June

Love Knows No Boundaries

Valentine’s Day is a universal celebration of love, bringing people together from different cultures and traditions. Whether it’s extravagant gestures in the United States, pampering rituals in South Korea and Japan, dreamy dates in the UK, friendship celebrations in Finland, love and proposals in India, unique customs in China, or love in June in Brazil, the essence remains the same – to cherish and express love in all its forms. As we embrace the diversity of these traditions, let us remember that love knows no boundaries and has the power to unite us all.

So, how will you celebrate Valentine’s Day this year?