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A quick history of Valentine's Day

15th January 2018 in Just for fun

Every February 14th couples celebrate Valentine's Day with a meal out or presents and cards. Companies and organisations market themselves heavily during this time, but how did the day of romance come about?

For such a light and bright ‘holiday’ Valentine's Day seems to have an interesting origin.

The roots of the day of love, affection, and marketing opportunities date back to 270AD when the priest Valentine was beheaded by Emperor Claudius II.

It’s a long way from the printed bears and the branded love heart candles we use for Valentine's marketing these days.

Valentine was helping Christian couples wed after marriage had been banned for young men, due to the emperor believing it would make them better soldiers. However, another story suggests he was killed after he helped many Christians escape Roman prisons. It’s even said he wrote the first Valentine's card just before his execution.

Now Valentine’s cards are incredibly popular and an average of 180 million Valentine's cards are exchanged annually. This was the first of several martyrdom stories of various people named Valentine connected to February 14.

It took a while to move away from those dark beginnings as Valentine's Day was not associated with romance until the poet Geoffrey Chaucer wrote a poem called ‘Parliament of Foules.’ We won’t recite the poem here (mainly because it’s made up of around 700 lines), but there was no record of Valentine’s Day being a romantic day until after his poem.

Flowers are a traditional Valentine's gift, roses are said to be a flower favoured by Venus, the Roman Goddess of Love and have been a symbol of love since the early 1700s. Incredibly, statistics show that 34.3% of people buy flowers as a gift on Valentine's Day.

So, if you’re looking for someone to blame for the introduction of Valentine's Day you have two choices. Emperor Claudius II for being generally unpleasant or Chaucer for linking Valentine's to love. Whoever you blame, the day of love and affection is here to stay which means it’s here to be a fantastic marketing opportunity. Whether you’re looking for printed teddy bears, customised candles, or promotional chocolate-shaped hearts, we have it all.

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