St. Valentines Day Facts
A list of interesting Valentine's day facts and traditions
- St. Valentines Day is celebrated on the 14th of February and is associated with the exchange of love notes (valentines), between loved ones, and more recently small gifts such as flowers or chocolates. Basically a day of romance.
- The origin of St. Valentines day is not clear. But it is known that it wasn't just a day invented by the greeting cards industry. (I know I didn't believe it either!) Valentines day as we know it first originated probably as early as the middle ages, perhaps even earlier with roots in roman times.
- Saint Valentine - who was he? Most probably a legend, there are in fact 3 saints who go by the name Valentine or Valentinius and are associated with the 14th of Feb, one was a priest, another a bishop but all 3 were said to be martyred. One of the most popular legends states that just before his beheading for refusing to deny Christ, Valentine wrote a letter to his beloved which was signed "From Your Valentine"
- Since AD 496 the feast of St Valentines has been celebrated, some believe to suppress an older pagan fertility festival held on the 15th of February. But the feast was more of a Christian celebration rather than the romantic day we now it as now. The association with romance dates from the middle ages, where most of the legends surrounding St. Valentine were written.
- The association of romance with St Valentines day dates from around the 14th century. One of the earliest written accounts of the romantic nature of Valentines day is by Geoffrey Chaucer where he notes the pairing of mating birds on St Valentines day.
- Valentines or love notes are traditionally given to loved ones on Valentines day. One of the earliest known valentines is a love poem written in 1415 by the Duke of Orleans to his wife while he was held in the Tower of London after he was captured at the Battle of Agincourt. This is probably where the St. Valentines legend arose.
- Since the seventeenth century in the UK & France, St. Valentines day has been celebrated in it's more current romantic form. The exchange of small gifts and love notes was widespread. By the end of the eighteenth century printed valentines cards were being produced. It wasn't until 1840 in America that valentines cards were first mass produced by Esther Howland.