There are a number of Saints called Valentine who are honored on February 14. The day became associated with romantic love in the Middle Ages in England. This may have followed on from the Pagan fertility festivals that were held all over Europe as the winter came to an end. Traditionally, lovers exchanged hand written notes. Commercial cards became available in the mid nineteenth century.
Valentine’s Day is not a public holiday. Government offices, stores, schools and other organizations are open as usual. Public transit systems run on their regular schedule. Restaurants may be busier than usual as many people go out for an evening with their spouse or partner. Valentine’s Day is also a very popular date for weddings.
Valentine’s cards are often decorated with images of hearts, red roses or Cupid. Common Valentine’s Day gifts are flowers chocolates, candy, lingerie and champagne or sparkling wine. However, some people use the occasion to present lavish gifts, such as jewelry. Many restaurants and hotels have special offers at this time. These can include romantic meals or weekend breaks.
Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14. It is a festival of romantic love and many people give cards, letters, flowers or presents to their spouse or partner. They may also arrange a romantic meal in a restaurant or night in a hotel. Common symbols of Valentine’s Day are hearts, red roses and Cupid.
While Richard Cadbury didn’t actually patent the heart-shaped box, it’s widely believed that he was the first to produce one. Cadbury marketed the boxes as having a dual purpose: When the chocolates had all been eaten, the box itself was so pretty that it could be used again and again to store mementos, from locks of hair to love letters.
The first mention of St. Valentine’s Day as a romantic holiday appeared in the writings of Chaucer in 1382. With the medieval period came a new focus on illicit but chaste courtly love, and it is here that we see some of the familiar iconography begin to appear. Knights would give roses to their maidens and celebrate their beauty in songs from afar. But sugar was still a precious commodity in Europe, so there was no talk of exchanging candy gifts.
Conversation hearts, truffles galore and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates—these are the symbols of Valentine’s Day for many lovers around the world. But why do we have a “sweets to the sweet” tradition every February 14? While the roots of Valentine’s Day go all the way back to Roman times, candy gift giving is a much more recent development. Is it because of chocolate’s reputed aphrodisiac qualities, or just a way for candy companies to sell more sweets in the lull between Christmas and Easter? Whatever the reason, those ubiquitous little red boxes flood shelves every year.