Whether you celebrate it or not, have you ever wondered just where St.Valentine’s Day originates from? Why, on the 14th February every year, do we have that last minute panic to buy a card, an overpriced bunch of flowers or box of chocolates, and maybe even head out for a meal that costs more than it would on any other night of the week and results in us being packed into a restaurant like sardines while we wolf down our food before being ushered out ready for the next wave of couples to experience the same thing??

The holiday actually has its origins in the Roman festival of Lupercalia, which originally celebrated the coming of Spring, and it included fertility rites and the pairing off of women with men by lottery. At the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius I replaced Lupercalia with St. Valentine’s Day and it came to be celebrated as a day of romance from about the 14th century [Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica].

The choice of the name “Valentine” is thought to have come from a Christian martyr, although which one is not clear – the most commonly believed theory is that it took its name from a martyred priest who signed a letter “from your Valentine” to his jailer’s daughter, whom he had befriended, and by some accounts, healed from blindness. Another common legend states that St. Valentine defied the emperor’s orders and secretly married couples to spare the husbands from war, and that is why the day is associated with love.

So there you go – your history lesson for today. But whatever the origins of this day, and however you celebrate it (or don’t…!) we wish all of our customers a happy Valentine’s day and hope you all have a great weekend!