15 February 2021

Celebrating Valentine's Day in Russia began only in the 1990s. However, even in the Russian Empire, this traditional Catholic holiday was celebrated, despite the prohibitions of the Orthodox Church. It was especially popular among the nobles following foreign fashion. As nowadays, young people used to send each other Valentine’s presents - hearts made of silk or lace, decorated with flowers. And on this day, balls were often organized, especially in houses where there were young girls of marriageable age.

According to the Orthodox calendar, Saint Tryphon the Martyr was commemorated on the 14th of February. They prayed to this saint for patronage of the family, for peace and love between spouses. February in Russia has traditionally been a wedding month. The young people got married in the interval between Christmas fasting and the Great Lent, because during both of these important periods it was forbidden to get married. On St. Tryphon's Day, girls practiced divination, wondering about their betrothed.

There were many popular beliefs: for example, if a sparrow flies over a girl's head on that day, she will marry a poor, but good guy, and if she sees a bullfinch, then she will get married to a wealthy man.