Valentine's Day - Origin, History & Traditions

Valentine's Day is one of those joyful holidays that celebrate love in all of its forms. And while celebrating love needs no special occasions, people often get carried away with everyday duties that they somehow forget to cherish what they already have. That makes Valentine's Day the perfect opportunity to remember that you share a special connection with someone you love and cherish.

But do people know anything about the history of Valentine's Day at all? Or Valentine's Day traditions around the world? Unfortunately, most people are not aware of the history behind Valentine's Day. So in today's blog post, we decided to take you back in time to inform you about the holiday. Keep reading because we are just getting started.

What is Valentine’s Day?

Before we get to the part where we tell you all about the history of Valentine's Day, let us first brief you on the specifics of the holiday. The holiday of Saint Valentine occurs every February 14. And while nowadays the holiday is celebrated internationally around the world, the first people, caught up on the idea to honor it as a romantic holiday, were the British and the Americans. And if you wonder how many years people have been celebrating the holiday, let us surprise you with some Valentine's Day history facts. The celebration of the Saint goes a long way to the end of the 5th century. That is when Pope Gelasius declared February 14 as a day of celebration. The first connotations of the celebration of the romantic nature of the holiday dates back to the 14th century.

table ready for st.Valentine's day

History of Valentine’s Day

Little is known about the accuracy of the stories Saint Valentine's is associated with. History is based on legends, myths and stories, passed down from generation to generation. All tales, however, describe Saint Valentine as a heroic figure, and an advocate for justice and love. So without further ado, let's dive into the legends of Saint Valentine.

Who was Saint Valentine?

Historically speaking, the facts are just too vague, to say the least, to understand the origin of the holiday. Legends say that there were several Cristian Saints named Valentine, or Valentinus that were martyred.

One of the legends tells the story of a priest named Valentine who served in Rome during the 3rd century. Living in such violent times was far from easy, especially when the then Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage for young men because of his belief that single men made better soldiers than married ones. Valentine realized the injustice of the decree and continued performing marriage ceremonies in secret. His actions were not without consequences, and when the truth was discovered, Claudius ordered the death of the priest. During his reign, the infamous Emperor beheaded another bishop - Saint Valentine of Terni. Some insist that he was the true namesake of the holiday.

Another legend says that Valentine was helping tortured and beaten Christians escape Roman prisons and was killed because of his bravery.

giftbox for st. Valentine's day
One of the stories is strongly associated with the history of Valentine's Day cards. It is believed that the first-ever Valentine card was sent by the priest himself to the woman he fell in love with. The story is rather intriguing due to the fact that the priest was imprisoned during the time. To make matters even more controversial, his beloved woman was the daughter of his jailor. Shortly before his death, he wrote her a letter signed 'From your Valentine!'. The expression is still widely used in today's modern world.

How did the celebration of Valentine’s day start?

So let's see how the stories of the heroic Saint turned into a celebration of love. The truth is Pope Gelasius declared February 14 as the holiday of Valentine to expel the pagan rituals. But what exactly is that? Pagan rituals were done during a fertility festival, dedicated to the Roman founders Remus and Romulus and the Roman God of agriculture.

During the festival, a goat was sacrificed for fertility and a dog for purification. The animals were then massacred into strips, and women were slapped with them. Valentine's Day was declared to outlaw the gruesome festival.

Centuries would pass before Valentine's Day was seen as a celebration of love. During the Middle Ages, the French and the British believed that February 14 was the beginning of the birds' mating season.

It was until poets like Geoffrey Chaucer and William Shakespeare started romanticizing the holiday in their work. Speaking of history, Valentine's Day cards were first found in the 1500s. By the late 1700s, valentines were commercially printed for people.

celebrating st. Valentine's day

Some famous Valentine’s Day traditions

Being celebrated for such a long time, Valentine's Day is now one of the most anticipated holidays every year. So indubitably, there would be some traditions from the past that are still done today. So let's see some of them:

  • Handmade valentines - Although valentines were massively produced since the late 1700s, the tradition says that handmade cards are better appreciated because of the effort put into them. Skills don't necessarily matter it's the thought and effort that counts;
  • Handwritten letter - Personal messages, written by hand are considered to be much more intimate;
  • Dances - Dance parties were commonly organized as a way to celebrate the love between two people;
  • Exchanging funny cards - Creativity is what makes Valentine's presents stand out. Showing off a sense of humour was widely appreciated by the Victorians;
  • Puzzle purses - The Victorians were quite keen on the holiday, and one of their most famous gifts was a framed collage of love letters. Letters were meant to be read separately, but also fit together to create a meaningful message.

Valentine’s day traditions around the world

Thanks to its growing popularity, there are now different Valentine's day traditions around the world. Let's look into some of them:

box with roses for st. Valentine's day

  • Denmark - Danish often gave pressed flowers as gifts to their beloved person. It is because of the idea that dried flowers are much longer-lasting than fresh ones. As to the type of flower, they used white snowdrops.
  • Japan - While in most countries chocolates are given by men, in Japan, women are those who give sweets and chocolates to the men on Valentine's Day.
  • Wales - The Welsh celebrate Valentine's Day on January 25 in celebration of their patron saint of lovers - Saint Dwynwen. Wooden spoons are a popular gift as they are seen as a token of affection.
  • Slovenia - In this European country, February 14 is considered the beginning of spring, and Valentine's Day is not so much about the romance between people but rather between the bees and the birds.
  • Germany - Pigs are seen as a symbol of good luck among the German, so they often give their significant others cartoon pigs. Pigs in Germany are like cupids in the United States.
  • Ghana - The country celebrates National Chocolate Day on February 14, so it is safe to assume sweets are fairly popular gifts there.
  • Bulgaria - On February 14, Bulgarians celebrate San Trifon Zarezan. Being the 'day of winemakers', wine is drаnk by everyone.
  • Italy - А tradition says that young unmarried Italian girls woke up before dawn to spot their future husbands. It was believed that the first man a woman saw on Valentine's Day was the man she would later marry.

a lot of  roses for st. Valentine's day

Surprise your significant other with a meaningful gift for Valentine’s Day from RoseGift

Making your partner feel loved and appreciated is the very essence of the romantic holiday. And while there are many gifts you can give to your special someone, you can never go wrong with flowers, especially roses. And while red roses are usually the go-to flowers for this holiday, don't feel obliged to follow the tradition. You can pick any color you want, depending on the message you want to convey. All you need to know is the meaning behind different rose colors.

If you want to keep the tradition of giving roses alive, but also want to spice things up just a little bit, you can always choose a modernized rose gift. And RoseGift offers your the perfect handmade gifts. You can choose from rose bears, roses in glasses, boxes of roses, golden roses, and necklaces decorated with roses - the possibilities are endless! Our gifts come in luxurious packages to make your woman feel even more special.

To summarize:

At the end of our blog post, you now know everything about Valentine's day history, traditions & origin. We sometimes need a reminder to show our feelings and express our gratitude towards the people we love. And Valentine's day provides the perfect opportunity to do all that.

We hope you found the information in this blog post interesting. If you did, don't hesitate to visit our blog, where you will find plenty of other articles on more intriguing subjects.