To Valentine or Not


To anyone wanting to dig deep into the origins of Valentine’s Day, good luck. You would be hard pressed to find facts through the many fables. Apparently, there was once a famous priest named Valentinus who was a bit of a rebel of Rome in the third century AD. According to the “story” the Emperor at the time, Claudius II, was a bit of a kill joy and banned marriage because he didn’t want his soldiers catching feels and getting distracted when they should be on the job. Work / life balance clearly was not on his top list of empirical priorities. Valentinus went a bit rogue, breaking rules and let’s just say…..made marriages his side hustle. Claudius II busted Valentinus and instead of hugging it out in the spirit of love, threw Val in jail and sentenced him to death. Harsh. I wonder if Claudius II was more merciful and a bit more inclined to let love rule? Back to Val in jail…. as he counted down the days to his fate on 14 February, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter (who obviously had a thing for bad boys hanging around the jail) and wrote her a love note signed “from your Valentine”. That’s one story.

Then there is a festival the Romans held in the middle of February that kicked of their Spring break which they called Lupercalia. As part of this celebration, boys drew names of girls out of a box which sounds a lot less hard than Tinder. During the festival they would be boyfriend and girlfriend with some of these powerball pairings making it to marriage. Fast forward down the track and the church wanted to turn this festival into a Christian party and decided to merge it with the story of St Valentine. That name kind of stuck and was to be used by people to express their feelings to loved ones on a special day, namely February 14, as a nod to Val who died for love.

The tradition of sending flowers was created for another reason. It comes from the old-fashioned custom of sending gifts, especially flowers, to pass on non-verbal messages. We can thank Charles II of Sweden in the 18th Century (who was a lot more in touch with his sensitive side than old mate Claudius II in Rome) for believing each and every single flower had a meaning to it. This meant that people could have an entire conversation through flowers alone which became a beautiful gesture as part of Valentine’s Day tradition.

Let flowers do the talking for you this Valentine’s Day.