On February 14th, are you the hopeless romantic, showering your partner with cute teddies, chocolates and flowers? Have you ever wondered who St. Valentine is and why we celebrate a day dedicated to him? Great mystery surrounds the hard facts, but here at Heaton House Farm we are delving into the legend to see what we can find!
It is believed that the first ever St. Valentine’s Day was celebrated on the 14th February 496AD, when Pope Galasius I declared it in the memory of a third-century martyred priest. It coincided with the Roman festival Lupercalia, which was observed to cleanse the city of evil and to promote health and fertility in the springtime. There were potentially three priests that Galasius could have been honouring, history cannot tell us definitively which it was, but it is commonly thought to be the Priest from Rome, who’s romantic story captured many hearts.
Here’s our Priest’s story: In 270AD, the Roman Emperor Claudias II prohibited marriage of the young, believing that unmarried soldiers fought better at war. Bishop Valentine did not agree with the Emperor’s new law, he saw it as God’s will to marry, so bravely chose to secretly continue to marry young couples illegitimately. When Claudias discovered Valentine’s betrayal he was outraged, he had him thrown into jail and sentenced to death!
Whilst awaiting his fate, legend has it that Valentine healed the blindness of his jailer’s daughter and they went on to fall in love. On the evening of his execution on the 14th February, his final words were passed on to his beloved in a note, in which he signed it ‘from your Valentine’.
Since then St Valentine and the 14th February has been referenced in many poems and books associated with love, gradually affirming our romance with this special day.
Our current traditions of singles sending an anonymous card has stemmed from a by-gone era, where men would pen verses to pass onto their intended. Once posting letters became affordable in the Victorian era, cards began being sent anonymously and the content became more risqué! By the late 20th century exchanging cards, had developed into also exchanging gifts that were seen as romantic, like a beautiful red rose. The exchange of jewellery became associated with Valentine’s in the 1980’s when the diamond industry promoted the occasion.
Now we see the giving of Valentine’s gifts in any form as a sign of kindness and love towards us. So whether you go all out and send the works or you’re a more understated gift giver, any present is appropriate, as it is the sentiment of love that counts.
If you are looking for some gift inspiration, head to our ‘Recommended Suppliers’ to get some great ideas! You could treat your love to having her make-up done before a big night out with a supplier from our Hair & Beauty section. You could find a florist to create a stunning flower arrangement of all her favourite colours or order her a personalised treat from one of our fabulous cake suppliers. If you are getting married and your wife-to-be won’t mind, you could book something special for your wedding, like your transport or entertainment. If she’s the adventurous type, take a look at the ‘Other Activities’ we have nearby or if she likes luxury, how about an overnight stay?
We may never know for sure if the myth and legend of Saint Valentine is true, but the message is clear – if you believe in love and marriage, never give up!