Originally an annual Roman festival for lovers, Valentine’s day became a Christian holiday to celebrate the legend of St. Valentine, who was thought to have been executed for performing marriage ceremonies in secret during a ban under the rule of Roman Emperor Claudius II in the third century AD. St. Valentine is thought to have died on 14th February. Whilst imprisoned awaiting his fate, it is also thought that the priest fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and signed off his final correspondence to her, “From your Valentine”. A legend was born.
So that’s why this day has come to be, but why do we buy Valentine’s gifts for our loved ones to celebrate the day? There are three main traditions on this great day; Valentine’s cards, flowers and chocolates.
Will you be my Valentine?
After the legend of Valentine was born, the first ever valentine’s letter was thought to be from the Duke of Orleans to his wife on Valentine’s day in the 15th Century, whilst he was held prisoner in the Tower of London after the Battle of Agincourt. The French Duke signed off the letter “My very gentle Valentine”.
The giving and receiving of valentine love notes didn’t start to become popular, however, until the 17th century, where friends and lovers would exchange letters of affection on the day. This tradition continued to evolve throughout the centuries to become what we now know as the typical Valentine’s day card.
Some of the first recorded evidence of Valentine’s Day is from the 14th century. Recorded in the works of renowned English poet Geoffrey Chaucer, knights were thought to give roses to their lovers to celebrate this holiday of love. Roses continued to be a symbol of love and this heightened in the 18th century when flowers became a popular way to send non-verbal messages – each flower has a specific meaning, with the red roses representing love and passion.
The Victorians embraced this celebration of courtly love by enjoying the giving and receiving of cards and gifts. It was at this time that Richard Cadbury found an opportunity to take advantage of this consumer holiday and designed beautifully designed heart shaped boxes full of delectable “eating chocolate”. It is thought that this was the beginning of the iconic heart shaped chocolate filled gift.
So what ever you have planned for the big day, make sure you pick up some traditional essentials. If you are looking for Valentine’s gift ideas for women, then check out of chocolates and sweets page and pick up some delicious chocolates or some retro sweets. As for Valentine’s gifts for him, perhaps you’d like to get something a little more modern like an iPhone gadget or adrenaline experience day? Whatever your agenda for the day, ensure it is filled to the brim with love.