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Origin of Valentine's Day

Unlock The Origin of Valentine's Day: Is It Truly Romantic?

30 Dec 2023
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Valentine's Day, a day that dances in the aura of love, romance, and genuine expressions, unfolds a captivating narrative woven with the threads of history. Embarking on this enchanting journey, we delve into the origin of Valentine's day, and witnessing the spellbinding evolution of this special day devoted to the language of the heart.

What is Valentine’s Day?

Valentine’s Day transcends mere calendar dates; it's a vibrant celebration deeply ingrained in the tapestry of time—a symphony harmonising love, emotions, and timeless traditions. This cherished occasion, also known as St. Valentine’s Day, extends beyond romantic love, embracing expressions of affection shared among family and friends. 

Join us on a journey as we delve deeply into “what is Valentine's day”, encounter the enigmatic figure of St. Valentine, and unveil the captivating reasons behind the selection of February 14th as the auspicious day for celebrating love before unwrapping the origin of Valentine's day.

Origin of Valentine's Day
The Origin of Valentine's Day: What is Valentine’s Day?

Where Does the Name Valentine Come From?

Surprisingly, St. Valentine's Day doesn't have an extensive historical record. It started as a feast day within the Catholic religion, finding its place on the liturgical calendar around 500 AD to honour martyred saints named Valentine. Intriguingly, there were three saints with the same name, leading to conflicting tales. This lack of clarity eventually led to the removal of the feast day from the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar in 1969.

Despite the limited historical knowledge about the actual Saint Valentines, various legends surround the figure. One narrative suggests that a Saint Valentine, refusing to convert to paganism, faced execution under Roman Emperor Claudius II. Miraculously, he healed the daughter of his jailer, converting the entire family to Christianity before his demise. Another legend points to a bishop named Saint Valentine of Terni, who also met a similar fate.

The association between Saint Valentine and a love-centric holiday emerges from another legend, portraying him as a Roman priest conducting weddings for soldiers forbidden to marry by imperial decree. Wearing a ring adorned with Cupid, a symbol of love, Saint Valentine distributed paper hearts as a precursor to greeting cards, reminding Christians of their love for God.

Origin of Valentine's Day
The Origin of Valentine's Day: Where Does the Name Valentine Come From?

This romantic connection solidified with Saint Valentine earning the title of the patron saint of love. The Saint Valentine prayer seeks his intervention to unite lovers and reinforce their devotion to each other and to God.

While these legends laid the foundation for Valentine's Day as a celebration of romantic love, it was Geoffrey Chaucer's 1375 poem that truly cemented the association. Often considered the origin of Valentine's Day celebration in the modern era, Chaucer's work established the tradition of celebrating romantic partnerships with a single significant other. 

Why is Valentine's Day celebrated on February 14th?

Typically, early Christians frequently chose to commemorate holidays on dates aligning with pre-existing festivals and celebrations, such as Christmas coinciding with the winter solstice. Consequently, Valentine's Day was designated on February 14th, closely following the celebration of Lupercalia on February 15th.

Who is Cupid and What Part does Cupid Play on Valentine's Day?

In addition to the timeless symbols of the classic red heart and crimson roses, Cupid stands as an enduring emblem of Valentine’s Day. In mythology, Cupid takes centre stage as the god of desire, love, and affection, identified as the offspring of Venus, the goddess of love, and Mars, the god of war.

Portrayed as a naked winged youth brandishing a bow and arrow, Cupid's weapons are more than mere adornments; they embody the force behind his ability to induce uncontrollable desire in anyone struck by his arrow.

Origin of Valentine's Day
Who is Cupid and What Part does Cupid Play on Valentine's Day?

Cupid's existence is, in part, a narrative devised to elucidate the often elusive nature of romantic love. While we can rationalise our affections and enumerate the qualities we adore in someone, the selection of one person over another in matters of the heart is not always governed by rationality. Love, in its essence, defies simple explanation and often unfolds in ways that surpass the boundaries of reason.

What is Origin of Valentine's Day?

Valentine's Day, a celebration that paints the world in hues of love, holds a history as rich and intricate as the tapestry of emotions it celebrates. In this exploration, we'll embark on a journey to the very genesis of this cherished day, tracing its origins and uncovering the transformative moments that turned it into a global celebration of love. 

The History of Valentine's Day

The origin of Valentine's Day is believed to trace back to two individuals who faced execution on February 14 in separate years during the 3rd century A.C.E. under Roman Emperor Claudius II, as reported by NPR. There is speculation that the Catholic Church may have established St. Valentine's Day to honour these two martyrs.

The history of Valentine's Day revolves around figures like Saint Valentine of Terni, who, according to tales, clandestinely officiated weddings for Roman soldiers. By defying the emperor's directives, he earned a reputation as a champion of love.

Origin of Valentine's Day
What is Origin of Valentine's Day?

Another narrative involves the tradition of writing love letters to one's valentine. As the story goes, St. Valentine scribed the inaugural “valentine” greeting to a young girl he tutored and fell in love with while imprisoned for his aforementioned acts. The History Channel notes that before his demise, he composed a letter signing off with "From your Valentine," a phrase that has endured through the ages.

However, these romantic anecdotes are rooted in legend. The historical details surrounding the martyrs named St. Valentine are so scarce that in 1969, the Roman Catholic Church opted to remove the feast day from its calendar. Despite this, St. Valentine still retains recognition as a saint.

How Did Valentine's Day Become a Romantic Holiday?

While the origin of Valentine's Day may seem less romantic and more realistic, the question “why do we celebrate Valentine's day?' unveils an intriguing evolution. The celebration didn't adopt its amorous ambiance until the Middle Ages, and this transformation owes much to the literary prowess of Geoffrey Chaucer.

The esteemed scholar Jack B. Oruch, an English professor at the University of Kansas, posited that Chaucer was the pioneer in intertwining love with St. Valentine in his 14th-century works, "The Parliament of Fowls" and "The Complaint of Mars," as reported by the Times. Consequently, Oruch argued that Chaucer essentially crafted Valentine's Day into the romantic spectacle we recognise today.

Origin of Valentine's Day
The Origin of Valentine's Day and How Valentine's Day Became a Romantic Holiday

Chaucer's poetic timing aligned with the belief that February 14 marked the commencement of spring in Britain—a period associated with the initiation of birds' mating season. This fortuitous coincidence lent itself perfectly to a celebration of affection.

In his work "The Parliament of Fowls," Chaucer vividly captures this theme, portraying anthropomorphized birds convening to choose their mates. This sentiment is encapsulated in verses like "For this was on Saint Valentine’s day, / When every fowl comes there his mate to take."

The choice of "Saint Valentine's day" over a more straightforward "February 14" may strike modern readers as curious. However, in the context of Chaucer's era, where each day of the year honoured at least one saint in the Catholic Church, remembering dates by names rather than figures was more practical for a populace without printed calendars. As Jacqueline Simpson articulates in a blog post for The Folklore Society, this convention was a pragmatic means of navigating a world where saints dominated the daily calendar.

The Meaning of Valentine's Day and Why Do We Celebrate it?

As you know the origin of Valentine's day, can you guess the meaning of Valentine’s day? Over the course of centuries, Valentine's Day has transformed from a religious observance and ancient ritual day into a widely commercialised holiday.

This evolution has bestowed upon the celebration a multifaceted identity, allowing individuals to interpret its meaning in diverse ways. Whether one chooses to forgo festivities altogether, indulge in personal treats like chocolate or flowers, or express love and gratitude to coworkers, romantic partners, friends, or family members, Valentine's Day offers a canvas for personalisation.

Geoffrey Chaucer, a luminary of the Middle Ages during the era of courtly love, played a pivotal role in shaping the romantic ethos associated with the day. In this period, grand expressions of devotion—manifested through poems, songs, and paintings—celebrated the intricacies of partnership.

Origin of Valentine's Day
The Origin of Valentine's Day and Why Do We Celebrate it?

By the late 15th century, the term "valentine" had transitioned into usage to describe a lover in the poetry and songs of the time. The 18th century saw the publication of "The Young Man's Valentine Writer" in England, and by the mid-19th century, mass-produced paper Valentine's Cards emerged, marking the genesis of the Valentine's Day we recognise today.

Yet, amidst the romantic tapestry, Valentine's Day history also bears witness to tragic events. In the throes of Prohibition in 1929 Chicago, the infamous Valentine's Day Massacre unfolded, orchestrated by a gang led by Al Capone. This incident, claiming the lives of seven men, became a significant episode in Prohibition history. It spurred law enforcement efforts to dismantle the criminal organisations that had emerged to control illegal substances like alcohol during that tumultuous period.

How Do We Celebrate Valentine's Today?

In exploring the origin of Valentine's Day, we find that the celebration carries forward significant traditions into the modern era. Let's delve into how this cherished day is celebrated, where innovative Valentine's day ideas serve as the brushstrokes that beautifully paint the portrait of affection.

Valentine’s Day Cards and Greetings for A Special Day

One of the most important symbols of Valentine’s Day is giving love messages or Valentines poems to our loved ones. 

Origins and Development

Valentine's Day extends its celebration beyond the borders of the United States, resonating in countries such as Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia. In Great Britain, the roots of Valentine's Day popularity can be traced back to the 17th century.

By the mid-18th century, a cultural shift emerged, making it customary for friends and lovers from all social strata to exchange tokens of affection and handwritten notes. The turn of the 20th century witnessed the advent of printed cards, gradually supplanting handwritten letters due to advancements in printing technology. 

Origin of Valentine's Day
The Origin of Valentine’s Day Greetings

Ready-made cards provided a convenient means for people to convey their emotions, especially in an era when expressing feelings directly was discouraged. The availability of cheaper postage rates further fueled the rise in the exchange of Valentine's Day greetings.

In the United States, the tradition of exchanging hand-made valentines likely commenced in the early 1700s. Notably, in the 1840s, Esther A. Howland pioneered the sale of the first mass-produced valentines in America. Revered as the "Mother of the Valentine," Howland crafted intricate designs featuring real lace, ribbons, and vibrant pictures, known as "scrap."

Presently, according to Hallmark, an estimated 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, solidifying Valentine’s Day as the second-largest card-sending holiday, surpassed only by Christmas.

What to write on Valentine’s Card

Although, in modern times, we often express affection through sweet words via SMS, crafting Valentine’s day card messages remains a wonderful way to express love and appreciation for your partner, as has been the tradition since the origin of Valentine's Day. Follow this step-by-step guide to ensure your words are personal, sincere, and resonate with the unique dynamics of your relationship.

  1. Step 1: Select the Perfect Card: In this step, consider harmonising the card design with your partner's preferences. And opt for romantic hues like reds and pinks
  2. Step 2: Set the Tone with a Salutation: Commence with an endearing salutation such as "To My Love" or "Dear [Partner's Name]." Infuse a sense of intimacy and personal connection.
  3. Step 3: Express Your Love: Kick off with a straightforward declaration of love, such as "Happy Valentine's Day! Your love means everything to me." Don’t forget to choose language that authentically echoes your emotions.
  4. Step 4: Recall Special Moments: Evoke a treasured shared memory by saying something like "Recall the moment when we [insert a special memory]?" to create a unique connection to your relationship.
  5. Step 5: Acknowledge Their Importance: Recognise their significance in your life with sentiments like "You are my anchor and confidant." This step can help you convey gratitude for their unwavering love and support.
Origin of Valentine's Day
What to write on Valentine’s Card?
  1. Step 6: Look Toward the Future: Share your enthusiasm for upcoming adventures and shared dreams. Utilise phrases like "Excited for more dreams and cherished moments."
  2. Step 7: Express Gratitude: Convey your appreciation to your partner for the happiness and love they bring into your life. Utilise phrases such as "I am grateful for the love and joy you've brought into my life."
  3. Step 8: End with a Sweet Closing Conclude with a warm wish for the day, such as "Wishing you a day filled with love and happiness." Wrap up with a sweet note that sets a positive tone.
  4. Step 9: Closing Signature: Select a closing signature reflective of your relationship, like "With all my love, [Your Name]." Keep it personal and sign off with a warm sentiment.

By following these steps, you can craft a personalised and meaningful message that encapsulates your love and appreciation for your partner. 

Celebrate Your Love with Unique Valentine’s Day Gifts 

In this section, we delve into the origin of Valentine's day gifts, exploring the essence that transforms a mere item into a cherished token of love. Join us on this journey as we unravel the secrets behind the perfect Valentine’s Day gift, where every choice is a testament to the depth of your emotions.

Origins and Development

Entering the 20th century, the symbolic inclusion of flowers, especially the iconic red rose, heightened the cultural significance of gift-giving on Valentine's Day. This tradition has since evolved into a diverse array of offerings, ranging from chocolates and jewellery to personalised items and unique experiences. Today, the act of exchanging gifts on Valentine's Day stands as a testament to the enduring tradition, intertwining history, culture, and the timeless celebration of love.

Tips to Choose the Best Valentine's Day Gift

As you explore the origin of Valentine's Day, choosing the ideal Valentine's Day gift becomes essential in expressing your love for your special someone. Here are some tips to help you select a gift that will truly resonate with your loved one:

  • Consider Their Love Language: Understanding your partner's love language can be a game-changer. Whether it's acts of service, quality time, words of affirmation, physical touch, or receiving gifts, tailor your choice to their primary love language.
  • Be Creative: Explore unique and creative gift ideas that showcase your thoughtfulness. Handmade items, DIY projects, or personalised gifts that reflect shared inside jokes or memories can add an extra layer of personalisation.
Origin of Valentine's Day
Tips to Choose the Best Valentine's Day Gift
  • Stay True to Your Relationship: Ultimately, choose a gift that reflects your relationship and the unique bond you share. Whether it's rom
  • Reflect on Shared Memories: Think about special moments you've shared together. A gift that symbolises a cherished memory or represents a significant milestone in your relationship can be deeply meaningful.
  • Personalised Touch: Consider personalised gifts that have a unique and intimate touch. Engraved jewellery, custom artwork, or monogrammed items add a personal and thoughtful element to your gift.
  • Unexpected Touch: Infuse an element of surprise into your gift. Whether it's an unexpected location for a date, a hidden message within the gift, or an unanticipated twist to the celebration, surprises make the occasion more memorable.

Top Gift Ideas on Valentine’s Day from Personal Chic 

If you're looking to elevate your Valentine’s Day celebration with the timeless traditions of greeting and gifting, discover our latest collection of Valentines gift ideas. While exploring our collection, you can personalise your gifts to match your lover’s preferences and the unique story of your love. Join us in finding the best gifts that immerse you in the spirit of the origin of Valentine's Day.

  • Personalised I'm Yours No Returns T-Shirt

If you are finding out the matching apparels for couples this Valentine, consider a personalised "I'm Yours, No Returns" T-shirt—a wearable declaration of love. As you adorn this stylish garment, you not only embrace comfort but also carry a personalised message that speaks volumes about your unique connection. 

With high-quality printing, our product ensures that your love's statement of commitment stays vibrant. Moreover, customising it with your unique features ensures that the design is as distinctive and wonderful as your relationship.

Origin of Valentine's Day
Personalised I'm Yours No Returns T-Shirt

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  • Personalised Love You To The Moon And Back Phone Case

In the digital age, love finds a new canvas with the 'Love You to the Moon and Back' phone case. Customise your phone case with your names and cute messages, expressing the depth of your love. Sending your Valentine's messages in this unique way is sure to add excitement to the tradition.

With every call and text, you carry your love with you, turning every interaction into a touchpoint for affection and connection. So why wait? Order now to make your gift truly special.

Origin of Valentine's Day
Personalised Love You To The Moon And Back Phone Case

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  • Personalised I Love You Now And Always Mug

Why not elevate your daily coffee ritual with a practical yet charming "I Love You Now and Always" mug , one of the top personalised gifts for Valentines day? This personalised ceramic coffee mug transcends ordinary drinkware, becoming a cherished vessel for your affectionate sentiments. 

Infuse the gift with heartwarming messages that convey your deep love and gratitude for your partner. The personal touch added to each design radiates the beauty and spirit of the origin of Valentine's Day, turning your mornings into moments of brightness and your evenings into cosier affairs.

Origin of Valentine's Day
Personalised I Love You Now And Always Mug

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  • Personalised My Heart All Belongs To Mug

Are you searching for the perfect Valentine's gift for the special woman in your life? Look no further than the 'My Heart All Belongs To' mug, a favourite in our collection. Adorned with adorable features and her image, this mug beautifully signifies her special place in your heart in a thoughtful, not overly sentimental way.

Customised to encapsulate your unique connection, this mug holds more than just a beverage—it cradles the essence of your love. Start and end your day with a heartfelt sip as you celebrate the exclusivity of your shared journey. Order now to make this Valentine's Day memorable.

Origin of Valentine's Day
Personalised My Heart All Belongs To Mug

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  • Personalised My Husband Mug

For your cherished life partner, the 'My Husband' mug stands as a tribute to enduring love. If you're searching for something special for your husband this Valentine’s Day, this personalised mug, adorned with care and messages, encapsulates the unique bond between spouses.

Trust me, with each use, this mug will bring a happy smile to his face, a testament to your love and pride for the great man who brings the best things into your life and stands by you to overcome life's challenges. 

Origin of Valentine's Day
Personalised My Husband Mug

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Wrapping Up the History of Valentine's Day

The origin of Valentine's Day, rooted in the legacy of St. Valentine and adorned with the whimsy of Cupid, has transformed over the centuries into a celebration that transcends borders and cultures. From its mysterious beginnings to the modern expressions of love through greetings and gifts, Valentine's Day remains a timeless tribute to the enduring power of love. 

As we continue to celebrate this cherished day, let us remember its rich history and embrace the opportunity to express love and appreciation through personalised gifts from Personal Chic. Happy Valentine's Day!

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Personal Chic
Joan Martha

Martha Joan has been a pivotal figure at Personal Chic since 2021, steering the narrative of personalised gifting with her unique flair and expertise. A proud alumna of the Royal College of Art, Martha graduated with a Master’s degree in Visual Communication, complemented by a minor in Marketing from the London School of Economics. Her profound grasp of visual storytelling and market dynamics sets her apart in the realm of luxury personalisation. Martha's commitment to transforming mundane items into bespoke masterpieces has established her as a vanguard in the industry. Furthermore, her active involvement in the International Association of Personalised Product Professionals underscores her dedication to elevating the art of customised gifts.

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