The history of Valentine's Day

January 27, 2017

The history of Valentine's Day

Every year on Valentine's Day we declare our love for our significant other. We write poems in cards and go to romantic restraunts, buy flowers, chocolates, and sometimes even buy a ring! With just over 2 weeks to go until the big day have you ever stopped to think exactly why we do all those things and why on that day. Well wonder no more as Paul Hodgkiss Designs has all the answers for you.



Thought to have originated from the Roman Festival, Lupercalia, Valentine's Day is a very old tradition. It was originally held on the 15th of February as a fertility festival dedicated to the the Roman god of agriculture, Faunus.

During these celebrations the attending boys would draw names of girls from a pot. The boy would pair up with the chosen girl for the remainder of the festival. These pairings would often lead on to marriage after the festival was finished.


Pope Gelas

This tradition survived the early days of Christianity but was then outlawed by the end of the 5th century by Pope Gelasius who later declared February 14th St Valentine's Day. The Catholic Church recognises at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, unfortunately all of three of them were martyred.


St Valentine in Roman prison

There are many stories and myths surrounding the identity of the true St Valentine. Some believed he was a Roman priest who served in the 3rd century. Marriage was banned as the serving Emperor Claudius II thought that men who were single made far better soldiers. When Valentine found out about this he deemed it unfair and began to arrange marriages in secret. However Claudius eventually found out and Valentine was jailed and sentenced to death. Other stories suggest that he was killed while attempting to help Christians escape from the Roman prisons where they were heavily beaten and tortured. 


St Valentine sends card from Prison

It is also thought that when he was sent to prison, he was able to send a letter to a woman he had fallen in love with. The note was said to have been signed "From your Valentine". Was this indeed the first Valentine's card?


Early valentines card 1 Early Valentines card 2 Early Valentines card 3 Early Valentines Card 4

So why is Valentine's Day celebrated on the 14th of February? Many believe that this day was chosen to mark the anniversary of his death which is though to have been in the middle of the month around the year 270 AD. Although others think that the Christian church decided to observe St Valentine's feast day at this time of the year, with the aim of Christianising the pagan festival of Lupercalia.


And if your wondering why the red rose has become so popular and linked to romance and St Valentine's Day, it is thought that this was the favourite flower of the Roman Goddess of Love, Venus. Therefore it has over the years come to represent all things romantic.

Red Roses


Valentine's Day is just around the corner and so are we. Why not pop in and see us for a beautiful gift for your loved one on this special day or check us out online.