It is believed that Valentine’s Day originated when Emperor Claudius II did not want Roman men to marry during wartime. Bishop Valentine went against the emperor’s wishes and performed secret weddings for which he was jailed and executed. While in jail he wrote a note to the jailer’s daughter signing it – “from your Valentine”.
It was bad luck signing cards so the alphabet ‘X’ was used which meant kiss. This gave birth to the much used “xoxo” (kisses & hugs) . In the medieval age young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who would be their Valentine. They would wear the name of the loved one on their sleeves – hence the expression “to wear your heart on your sleeve”.
Rose is the favourite flower of the Roman Goddess Venus. The trend of giving a red rose which indicates passion and romance was initiated by the Victorians. Cupid is the god of desire, erotic love, attraction and affection. He is often portrayed as the son of the love goddess Venus and the war god Mars, thus the use of the phrase – struck by Cupid’s arrow.
In the year 1800, the physicians advised their patients to eat chocolates to calm their pining for their lost love. Richard Cadbury produced the first box of chocolates for the Valentine day in the late 1800’s.
Galesnjak island also known as Island of Love, lies on the off coast of Croatia. It is a tiny heart-shaped island in the Adriatic and is one of the world’s few naturally occurring heart-shaped islands. Galesnjak is the hottest holiday location for St Valentine’s Day.
In Finland, 14th February is celebrated as Ystävänpäivä: Friendship day – Day of the friends. February 14th is known as the second largest card selling day in the world after Christmas and New year.