Thursday, January 30, 2014

History of Valentine's Day

So where did this whirlwind of Valentine's Day celebrations all stem from, anyway? How did we get to this point, where February 14 equals a mad rush of ordering Valentine's Day flowers before the florists close their doors?

To be honest, no one is entirely clear. There's a lot of mystery when it comes to exact history and origins of what we now call Valentine's Day. There are actually three men named Saint Valentine after whom the day could have been named, and unfortunately we don't have a lot of documentation to provide us with more information.

Either way, there are a couple of popular legends explaining the origins of Valentine's Day. Here are our two favourites:

  1. Way back in 200AD, the Roman Emperor of the time had a newsflash revelation that men who were single were more likely to fight in battle, as they had less to lose. In the quest to gain more soldiers, he created a law that forbade young men to marry. A priest named Valentine, who was a big fan of true love, wouldn't stand for this, and started marrying couples in secret. He was executed for his efforts, but (if the legend is true) his legacy lives on as people are able to freely express their love for one another every year on February 14.

  2. Again in Ancient Rome, a man named Valentine used to help Christians escape from prison, until he himself was captured. From his jail cell, he would write letters to a girl who he was in love with, signing them with "from your Valentine". And the rest, they say, is history!

  3. Since then, Valentine’s Day has evolved to become a day of flowers, chocolate and hearts. Another mystery is how Valentine’s Day and flowers came to be so closely tied. With online flower shops with Valentine’s Day offers like this so prevalent nowadays, it’s easy to forget that it wasn’t always this way. While no one knows how it happened, here are our best theories on how flowers have come to be the symbol of Valentine’s Day.

    1. According to a Roman myth, one day Cupid was on his way up to Mt. Olympus to bring the gods a pot of sweet nectar.  On his way up, he spilled the nectar on the ground, and from that spot roses grew. Voila. Valentine’s Day roses!

    2. Once again in Ancient Rome, it was believed that one day a wood nymph dancing in the fields was seen by Vertumnus, The God of Spring, who fell in love with her on the spot. When he reached for her, though, the wood nymph was frightened so out of protection and pity the other gods let her sink into the earth where she became a daisy. Voila. Daisies!

    3. According to Brownie Locks there are some deep routed, traditional meanings behind the other flowers we now send for Valentines Day. Some of our favourites include:

      1. Gardenia = I love you secretly

      2. Rose= I love you passionately

      3. Violet = I return your love

      4. So while we don’t know where it came from, or why, what we do know is that Valentine’s Day is here to stay. Regardless of the true origins, these stories are kind of fun to think about.  Wow your special Valentine with these fun facts.

        Article was written by Ruth Bazemore, a mother of three who enjoys writing and gardening in her free time.

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