Many-a-times, the word France and romance have been used synonymously. There is something about the place that attracts and allures romantics and lovers from all over the world. The place has been a popular honeymoon spot since ages and painters and poets have come to this place to get inspiration for their works. So, It is but natural that the day of love and romance i.e. Valentine’s Day is celebrated with great enthusiasm all over France. It sometimes becomes hard to believe how grandly the natives celebrate the occasion. Preparations start months ahead and people of all age groups take equal participation in the event. In addition to the regular Valentine’s Day observations, France has its own unique traditions of celebrating the occasion. Read on to explore them in detail.
Valentine’s Day Celebrations in France
The origin of the Valentine’s Day is believed to have a strong connection with France. All over France and England, there was a popular notion that the members of the avian species start the process of mating around the middle of the second month of the year. It was for this very reason that lovers all over the region started exchanging romantic notes around this time, as they began to consider it as an auspicious period. Gradually, this led to the emergence of Valentine’s Day, which eventually spread to the rest of the world. It was in France only, somewhere during the 14th and the 15th centuries, that poets and litterateurs created a romantic impression of the event.
Another important facet of the festival that connects it to this enchanting country is that Valentine’s Day cards are said to have evolved from this area. History has it that Charles, the young Duke of Orleans wrote the very first Valentine’s Day card. During the Battle of Agincourt, in the year 1415, the Duke was captured by the enemies and during this time, he wrote a beautiful poem or ‘Valentine’ for his beloved. It is said that this took place when the Duke was captured and imprisoned in the Tower of London. At present, the festival is celebrated with much pomp and glory all over France and people of all age groups take equal participation in the events. Parties are organized, get-togethers are arranged and friends and family catch up to spend some quality time together.
Cards, flowers and other tokens of love are exchanged between partners and commitments of love are made by the young. A very unique custom that was observed by the natives and residents of the area is the ‘drawing for’ custom. The young, the unmarried and also the aged would move from house to house, calling across from one window to the other and then pair off with the partners that they chose. In case, the young man lacked interest in his valentine, he was free to desert and leave her. Later on, a bonfire was lit by the womenfolk and the ladies would burn the images of their ungrateful lovers, hurling abuses at them at the same time. This custom was later abandoned, as it involved unpleasantness and mockery. The government finally passed down a decree officially banning down the observation of this custom.