St. Valentine’s Day is now a part of Polish culture

“On Feb. 14, it suddenly turns out that a man who could not even make tea before will now prepare an elegant dinner on his own”

editor: Grzegorz Adamczyk
author: Tomasz Wypych

Saint Valentine’s Day has become a permanent part of Polish culture, and now many Poles cannot imagine Feb. 14 without celebrating it.

The religious celebration of Saint Valentine’s Day came to Poland from Bavaria and Tyrol a long time ago, but the day gained in popularity only in the 1990s when it began being celebrated in a less religious manner. That was the period when Poles began seeing the holiday as a day for lovers, which is how it is enjoyed (or not enjoyed) in the U.S., Great Britain, and now, increasingly across the world.

“It does not matter how we celebrate this day — it is important that we celebrate it at all because it is the celebration of love. And everything that encourages love, contributes to health,” said Prof. Zbigniew Starowicz, a doctor, psychiatrist, psychotherapist and sexologist.

“On Feb. 14, it suddenly turns out that a man who could not even make tea before now will prepare an elegant dinner on his own. Everyone needs the other person, wants to love and to be loved,” explained the expert. “That is why we should enjoy ourselves and this day. And if we exchange pleasant gifts, is there anything wrong with that?” Starowicz asked.

The day is named after Saint Valentine of Terni who was a 3rd-century doctor, bishop and martyr. He is regarded as a protector against severe diseases, especially mental, neurological disorders and epilepsy.

It turns out 66 percent of Poles celebrate Valentine’s Day with their other half, according to a study by platform Paypo. Only 23 percent of respondents stated that they do not celebrate this day in any manner.

St. Valentine’s Day is now Poles’ third favorite occasion, following Christmas and Easter, to give gifts.

The survey also shows that 90 percent of Poles see themselves as romantics. Naturally, not everyone feels the need to give gifts: Fifteen percent of Polish women and 13 percent of men do not buy gifts on Valentine’s Day.

However, if Poles do end up buying gifts, the most popular choices are flowers (55 percent), chocolate (45 percent), cosmetics and perfumes (30 percent), jewelry (27 percent), and articles of clothing or bags (11 percent). Less commonly, Valentine’s gifts include books (10 percent) and games (5 percent).

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