On the 14th February every year, many of us make an extra effort to show our affections and spend quality time with our loved ones. Whether that be with your significant other, a friend or even a family member, Valentine’s Day is essentially about being around those that you care about. It is also custom to give loved ones special gifts on this day, such as a card, flowers or chocolates.
But where did this tradition all start? The day gets its name from Saint Valentine from the Ancient Roman times, however he is a mysterious figure and we have many different stories about who he really was. However, it is popular belief that St Valentine was a priest from Rome in the 3rd Century AD. The Emperor at the time, Emperor Claudius II, was a military minded man, and strongly believed that married men made poor soldiers, and he therefore forbid marriage. Valentine saw this as an injustice and arranged marriages in secret. Emperor Claudius discovered Valentine’s actions and imprisoned him and sentenced him to death. Whilst in prison, Valentine fell in love with the jailer’s daughter, and when he was taken to be killed on 14 February he sent her a love letter signed “from your Valentine”.
Eventually, the Christian Church combined the story of St Valentine with the Roman festival of ‘Lupercalia’ which took place in February. During Lupercalia, boys drew names of girls from a box and they would proceed to be ‘boyfriend’ and ‘girlfriend’ throughout rest of the festival, which sometimes led on to marriage afterwards.
Gradually, St Valentine’s name started to be used by people to express their feelings to those they loved.
Here are some ideas of how to spend this Valentine’s Day with your loved ones:
- Go out for a meal at a restaurant
- Watch a movie
- Go for a walk (weather permitting!)
- Have a day out somewhere new
- Cook a meal together
- Go to the theatre or a gig
- Spa/pamper treatments