Valentines day is a celebration for some, and a reminder of how single you are for others, but do you know where it originated? With an obscure and fanciful past, St Valentines day is one of the most celebrated days of the year in many countries all over the world. Couples take romantic trips, buy gifts and send cards. The practice of sending anonymous cards has become less common in recent years, but Valentines day is as popular as ever.
The roots of valentines day are in the ancient roman festival of Lupercalia, which was held annualy on 15th February to celebrate fertility. That was until 496, when Pope Gelasius 1 declared the festival would then be on February 14th and it has remained the same day ever since. Although we celebrate St Valentine on this day, it transpires that we don’t actually know which one.
According to the catholic encyclopedia, there were three Saints by that name who are all said to be martyred on 14th February. Most scholars, however, believe the real St Valentine was a priest who disobeyed the emperor Claudius 2nd for continuing to perform marriage ceremonies, despite young men being banned from marrying. Another legend is that after being imprisoned, St Valentine fell in love with the jailer’s daughter, and that before he was executed, he sent her cards signed “from your valentine.” By the middle ages, St Valentine would become one of the more popular patron saints amongst europeans.
The modern tradition of sending cards became popular in 18th century England, as people sent homemade cards made of lace and ribbons. This was then copied throughout the Americas, and the modern day tradition grew. Today, approximately 150 million Valentines day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentines the second most popular card-sending day after xmas. Although, 85% of all card purchases are made by women!
We have a special valentines menu available at Boadicea on valentines day. To book, visit boadiceacol.com.