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Valentine's Day in United States

Quick Facts

Valentine's Day is an occasion to celebrate romantic love.

Local names

NameLanguage
Valentine's DayEnglish
Día de San ValentínSpanish
See list of observations below
Valentine's Day is celebrated on February 14. It is a festival of romantic love and many people give cards, letters, flowers or presents to their spouse or partner. They may also arrange a romantic meal in a restaurant or night in a hotel. Common symbols of Valentine's Day are hearts, red roses and Cupid.
Valentines day
Valentine's Day is set as the most romantic day of the year. ©iStockphoto.com/Tom Nulens

What do people do?

Many people celebrate their love for their partner by sending cards or letters, giving gifts or flowers and arranging meals in restaurants or romantic nights in hotels. People who would like to have a romantic relationship with somebody may use the occasion to make this known, often anonymously. Valentine's cards are often decorated with images of hearts, red roses or Cupid. Common Valentine's Day gifts are flowers chocolates, candy, lingerie and champagne or sparkling wine. However, some people use the occasion to present lavish gifts, such as jewelry. Many restaurants and hotels have special offers at this time. These can include romantic meals or weekend breaks.

Public life

Valentine's Day is not a public holiday. Government offices, stores, schools and other organizations are open as usual. Public transit systems run on their regular schedule. Restaurants may be busier than usual as many people go out for an evening with their spouse or partner. Valentine's Day is also a very popular date for weddings.

Background

There are a number of Saints called Valentine who are honored on February 14. The day became associated with romantic love in the Middle Ages in England. This may have followed on from the Pagan fertility festivals that were held all over Europe as the winter came to an end. Traditionally, lovers exchanged hand written notes. Commercial cards became available in the mid nineteenth century.

Symbols

The most common Valentine's Day symbols are the heart, particularly in reds and pinks, and pictures or models of Cupid. Cupid is usually portrayed as a small winged figure with a bow and arrow. In mythology, he uses his arrow to strike the hearts of people. People who have fallen in love are sometimes said to be 'struck by Cupid's arrow. Other symbols of Valentine's Day are couples in loving embraces and the gifts of flowers, chocolate, red roses and lingerie that couples often give each other.

About Valentine's Day in other countries

Read more about Valentine's Day.

Valentine's Day Observances

WeekdayDateYearNameHoliday typeWhere it is observed
ThuFeb 141980Valentine's DayObservance 
SatFeb 141981Valentine's DayObservance 
SunFeb 141982Valentine's DayObservance 
MonFeb 141983Valentine's DayObservance 
TueFeb 141984Valentine's DayObservance 
ThuFeb 141985Valentine's DayObservance 
FriFeb 141986Valentine's DayObservance 
SatFeb 141987Valentine's DayObservance 
SunFeb 141988Valentine's DayObservance 
TueFeb 141989Valentine's DayObservance 
WedFeb 141990Valentine's DayObservance 
ThuFeb 141991Valentine's DayObservance 
FriFeb 141992Valentine's DayObservance 
SunFeb 141993Valentine's DayObservance 
MonFeb 141994Valentine's DayObservance 
TueFeb 141995Valentine's DayObservance 
WedFeb 141996Valentine's DayObservance 
FriFeb 141997Valentine's DayObservance 
SatFeb 141998Valentine's DayObservance 
SunFeb 141999Valentine's DayObservance 
MonFeb 142000Valentine's DayObservance 
WedFeb 142001Valentine's DayObservance 
ThuFeb 142002Valentine's DayObservance 
FriFeb 142003Valentine's DayObservance 
SatFeb 142004Valentine's DayObservance 
MonFeb 142005Valentine's DayObservance 
TueFeb 142006Valentine's DayObservance 
WedFeb 142007Valentine's DayObservance 
ThuFeb 142008Valentine's DayObservance 
SatFeb 142009Valentine's DayObservance 
SunFeb 142010Valentine's DayObservance 
MonFeb 142011Valentine's DayObservance 
TueFeb 142012Valentine's DayObservance 
ThuFeb 142013Valentine's DayObservance 
FriFeb 142014Valentine's DayObservance 
SatFeb 142015Valentine's DayObservance 
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