Valentine’s Day is not as seriously observed as it is in the States; as a matter of fact, the celebration of Valentine’s Day has gained popularity only in recent decades, namely after the end of World War II.
While it was previously celebrated by some, the end of the war (and with it the friendly relationship with American soldiers) added to the growing esteem Germans were developing for this holiday.
Red is the color for love, and Germany is no exception. Red roses (rote Rosen) are the symbol of love for Germans, so be sure to buy a dozen or two!
Silhouettes (Scherenschnitte) are another popular mode of celebration, especially among children. They love to create circles of hearts for their parents or classmates.
Valentine’s Day folklore abounds in Germany. In Bavaria, the story goes, Duke Welf led a peasant revolt against King Konrad III. Needless to say, the Duke’s merry men were not able to overcome the King and his army, and soon the peasants found themselves under siege.
Ready to give up, Lady Elizabeth (the Duke’s wife) implored the King to let her and the other wives leave the castle with whatever they could carry on their backs.
The King agreed and on Valentine’s Day he saw a long line of wives leaving the castle…with their husbands on their backs! ("The Faithful Wives" from the book Clever Folk: Tales of Wisdom, Wit and Wonder, by Ruthilde M. Kronberg, Libraries Unlimited, Inc., 1993, pp. 5-6.)
When In Germany
So, what do Germans do on Valentine’s Day, if red roses are a trifle too simplistic and silhouettes just too Victorian? I am glad you asked.
Check out the answer to Cyrano de Bergerac meets Microsoft. Cyber-Cyrano will help the verbally challenged lovelorn man or woman to craft a passionate, irresistible love letter fit for framing…without the man underneath the tree.