The History of Valentine’s Day
February 14th is the date we all know as ‘Valentine’s Day’ the holiday of romance and love. Most of us use this as an opportunity to show our affection to our loved ones with flowers, gifts and cards. At Bellissimo Weddings we believe that love should be celebrated all year round – but how did this tradition start and become the most romantic day of the year?
The holiday started off as an ancient Roman festival in mid – February called ‘Lupercalia’ – a fertility celebration commemorated annually on February 15th. During the festival boys would draw names of girls from their town out of box and the pair would become partners during the festival – sometimes these matches even led to marriage.
In the 5th Century Pope Gelasius changed the festival to a Christian feast day declaring that 14th February was St. Valentine’s Day and was a day for honouring the soft hearted valentine (which I guess means we can thank him for all the lovely valentines gifts!) However, it was a mystery to who St. Valentine was as there were at least three early Christian saints by that name.
One St. Valentine was sentenced to death after he performed marriage ceremonies in secret (which is arguably very romantic) after Claudius 2nd had banned marriage for roman men as he believed that single men made better soldiers.
Then in the 15th Century hand-written Valentine’s messages began being exchanged in Europe, which quickly started to prove popular in England. In the 17th century Great Britain made exchanging greeting cards on this day a tradition, which caught on quickly to the USA and other countries.
As the holiday grew so did business for companies and by the early 19th Century cards were mass produced, leading to Valentine’s day exploding in to the major consumer holiday it is today. So there you have it – it was possible to send that anonymous Valentine’s Day card to the one you admired!
Most of us now spend time asking ourselves the question ‘what I should get for my significant other?’. Did you know on average each Valentine’s day:
- 1 billion cards get sent
- 35 billion heart shaped chocolate boxes are sold
- 220 million roses are produced throughout the year to be sold on this very special day
The most popular gift to be given on Valentine’s Day is chocolate and flowers however, 20% spend their money on jewellery. Then there are the lucky ones who get engaged on this very romantic day – roughly 6 million couples get engaged on February 14th each year. That’s a lot of diamonds!!
It’s always interesting finding out more about the traditions by which we mark our lives and we wanted to share with you the true meaning and history behind such a wonderful and romantic holiday, however, remember that love should be celebrated all year round so don’t wait until that one day of the year to tell that special person that you love them.
Lots of love from the Bellissimo Girls x
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