Valentine's Day has become a big event on the annual calendar – a celebration of love and affection filled with roses, chocolates and cute cards. But how did we end up with Valentine’s Day – which is named after a saint? Here’s a look at the history of the holiday.
The real Valentine?
For starters, the idea behind Valentine’s Day is even older than any of the potential saints. February has long been associated with romance in both Christian and ancient Roman traditions. Somewhere along the lines, St Valentine’s Day came to be celebrated right in the middle of the month and it was the celebration of love.
But who was Valentine?
Truth is we don’t really know for certain. There were three saints called Valentine or Valentinus – all of whom were martyred! One was said to be a priest in the 3rd century. Back then Emperor Claudius (in true crazy Roman tradition) decided that single men made better soldiers and outlawed marriage! Valentine went against the emperor and continued to marry couples in secret but was found out and put to death.
From your Valentine
There’s even a story relating to how we ended up adding ‘From your Valentine’ into all of those unsigned cards. This Valentine worked to help Christians escape the terrible Roman prisons but ended up being imprisoned himself. He fell in love the daughter of the jailor and sent a card to her on his death that was signed ‘From your Valentine’ and the tradition was born. The romantics in the Middle Ages loved this story and that’s how Valentine became one of the most popular British and French saints. Other ideas about Valentine’s Day Other stories are a little less poetic. Some think that while the day may commemorate the death of one of the St Valentines, other think that the idea of St Valentine’s Day was more about winning over the pagans. They had a festival called Lupercalia that was on the ‘idea of February’ or the 15th to you and me. It was a fertility festival dedicated to the god of agriculture Faunus and the twin founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus. It was a bit of a messy festival. Priests would sacrifice a goat and a dog for fertility and purification (for some reason) then go around the streets slapping women with the goat hide then drop it off in the fields. This was meant to boost fertility. All single women then put their name in an urn and a name was drawn by every single man, usually ending in marriage.
For the single ladies
When you are single, Valentine’s Day can be a bit of a bore. It is all about the couples! But it is also a great opportunity to celebrate your single status. Grab a group of lady friends and have a Valentine’s Day party with a difference – our Buff Butlers can come along to act as hosts, serving drinks and snacks in their unique way! Just as we aren’t really sure where Valentine’s Day came from, there’s nothing to say that everyone can’t enjoy it in their own way. Happy Valentine’s Day!