Valentine’s Day has become the most popular day of the year to celebrate romance and love in many regions of the world. Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14, by couples around the world. Though the feast started as a religious holiday, it became strongly commercialized over the past centuries. To express their love to one another, modern-day couples buy each other endearing Valentine’s Day gifts, such as confectionery, flowers, jewelry, or Valentine’s Day teddy bears, often accompanied by a bright-red Valentine’s Day card. But what, out of all these gifts makes the teddy bear – or any other stuffed animal made for Valentine’s Day – so special?
How did Valentine’s Day start?
Let’s first take a short look at how Valentine’s Day started. Valentine’s wasn’t always considered a feast of love. In 496 AD, Pope Gelasius I established February 14 as an official religious feast in honor of the Christian martyr Saint Valentine, who had passed away 200 years before, in 296 AD. It wasn’t until the 14th and 15th centuries that the feast gained a connection to love. This concept of love was different from the idea of romantic love we share these days. Back then, courtly love flourished; the conception of love that emphasized nobility and chivalry. This type of love, shared between knights and their ladies, originated from literature. Courtly love became more vividly expressed during early spring, due to the seasons association with love birds.
It would take several more centuries before commoners embraced the concept of expressing their love for each other by presenting gifts. In 18th-century England, flowers, greeting cards, and sweets became popular items to gift to a lover. Since then, Valentine’s Day has become the most primary feast of love around the world.
Why do we gift teddy bears for Valentine’s Day?
A Valentine’s Day gift is generally meant to be an expression of love and affection. Scientifically, the feeling of love is closely associated with the hormone oxytocin. Oxytocin is also known as the ‘love hormone’, as it is related to empathy, trust, sexual activity, and relationship-building. When a child, or even an adult, cuddles something soft and comforting – whether it’s a lover, a pillow, or a stuffed animal – oxytocin is released. This is why stuffed animals, such as the Valentine’s Day bear, make for such great Valentine’s Day gifts: they are warm, durable, and positive reminders of love that can strongly remind us of the one’s who gifted them to us. Gifting a Valentine’s Day teddy bear is almost like gifting someone a permanent hug!
The most popular Valentine’s Day bears
The most common Valentine’s Day teddy bears either carry a heart or wear one on their chest. The heart often carries a romantic message, most frequently the phrase “I love you”. There are plenty of varieties on the Valentine’s Day theme, though, combining different styles, colors, and sizes – including the incredibly popular giant teddy bear. We’ve selected some of the best examples of Valentine’s Day teddy bears for you.
What other Valentine’s Day stuffed animals are there?
Though the teddy bear with the heart is the most popular type of Valentine’s Day stuffed animal, many other animals and objects come in a variety. From dogs and skunks to giraffes and dinosaurs, there are plenty of alternatives to the classic Valentine’s Day teddy bear.
Make your day extra special
When love is in the air, you want to make your special someone feel extra special. Valentine’s Day doesn’t always have to involve a grand romantic gesture; you can simply buy a wonderful, loving Valentine’s Day stuffed animal for your sweetheart, to remind him or her of your love. Additionally, these soft, cuddly toys also make perfect presents for close friends or family members. After all, Valentine’s Day has become the day of love; and love is all around! How will you celebrate Valentine’s Day this year?
Did your sweetheart gift you a Valentine’s Day teddy bear? Read our tips for finding it a name!
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Traveler Rebeka Rotter lived in all corners of the globe. She worked in Hungary, the United States, the United Kingdom and Thailand and volunteered in Ghana and Georgia. Transylvanian blood runs through her veins, which she keeps in check through daily meditation and a host of creative pleasure projects. When not on the road, Beki thrives for being a compassionate psychologist.