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The History of Valentine’s Day

an image of an abundance of red roses ready for valentine's day

Valentine’s Day – a day dedicated to celebrating love, passion, and the special relationships in your life. But where exactly did the tradition come from? Throughout the course of this blog, Terence Lett will be comprehensively guiding you through the extensive and eclectic history of Valentine’s Day, with the aim of discovering exactly why we choose to celebrate love on the 14th February annually.

The Lupercalia Feast
The history of Valentine’s Day can be traced right back to the pre-Christian era, during the age of Ancient Rome. An extremist Pagan festival called Lupercalia was celebrated on the 13th, 14th, and 15th of February. The festival itself was for encouraging and improving fertility within young women in the most extraordinary of ways. Eventually, the festival was deemed ‘unChristian’ and was outlawed by the Church in favour of another festivity – in 496 AD, Pope Gelasius declared February 14th was henceforth to be known as ‘Valentine’s Day.’

Who is St. Valentine?
But where did the legend of St. Valentine first appear? There are at least three different saints recognised by the Catholic Church with the name Valentine, although there is no certain conclusion as to who influenced the name of the holiday. According to one myth, Valentine was an elderly priest in Rome who served under Emperor Claudius II. When the Emperor decided that single men were better soldiers than married men, due to their lack of distraction, marriage was outlawed for young men. Valentine took it upon himself to marry young couples in secret, believing that love conquers all. Unfortunately, the Emperor found out and ordered Valentine’s death. There are a myriad of legends similar to this one, the common thread being the heroic sacrifice Valentine made in the name of love.

Shakespearian Influence
By the 1600s, Valentine’s Day was well and truly cemented into global traditions. The celebration continued to be publically romanticized by illustrious figures and writers alike. William Shakespeare mentioned the day in his acclaimed play ‘Hamlet’, the aforementioned Prince’s tragic love Ophelia stating “To-morrow is Saint Valentine’s day,/All in the morning betime,/And I a maid at your window,/To be your Valentine.” It wasn’t until around the 18th Century, however that ‘love notes’ became a popular mode of contact between two lovers in England, and laid the groundwork for the tradition of exchanging cards and gifts that still remains today.

21st Century and beyond
Valentine’s Day is still a hotly anticipated celebration each year, with an estimated 595 million spent on the holiday in the United Kingdom alone in 2014! The lovely aspect about the day is that you and your partner have the opportunity to create your own traditions and your very own Valentine’s Day history, whether that be selecting the perfect jewellery gift or surprising them with a classy dinner out.

The history of Valentine’s Day is a colourful one that embraces a vast array of religions and traditions. Terence Lett wholly believe in celebrating Valentine’s Day and surprising your loved one with that perfect gift. Why not visit the luxurious Terence Lett showrooms today to browse through our Valentine’s Day gifts? If you’d like to speak to the team prior to your showroom visit, do not hesitate to contact 01993 779769 at your earliest convenience.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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