09 Feb Albania Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day Observed in The Country of Albania
Known as St. Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, modern Valentine’s Day is a very popular holiday in many western countries, including Albania. Its history is a bit odd when you explore the stories that many think of as the history of Valentine’s Day. In one, Valentine was imprisoned for marrying Christians by the Romans, and during his time in jail healed the daughter of his jailer. Though this act of compassion was impressive, he was none the less executed and died a Christian martyr. In all variations, Valentine dies a martyr and one who is noted for his loving nature.
Though its origins relate to a tale of martyrdom, by the 1400s, Valentine’s Day had been turned into a celebration of affection and love. That was due to Geoffrey Chaucer describing it in this way and turning it into a celebration of courtly love. By the 1800s, most of Europe marked the day with tokens such as flowers or sweets and sending poems or greetings that were quickly named “valentines”. This is the model that most of us know today, and depending on where you are, it may be a strictly romantic day or one that is about affection in general.
In Albania, it is celebrated in much the same way as other western countries and people are free to use the day as a time to show feelings of romantic love, general affection and simple friendship by sending flowers, giving gifts of candy and passing out messages in the form of Valentine’s Day cards. Albanians mark it on the same day as the rest of the world – February 14 – but as is the case with other areas, it is not a public holiday with business or government office closings. There are many events throughout the country emphasizing romantic connection, but there is also a lot of emphasis on friendship during the holiday, as well.