The history of Valentine's Day

Published: Thursday 2nd Feb 2012

Ever on the seeking of new knowledge and useless trivia that I know will one day come in useful for pub quizzes, I decided to do some reading up on Valentine's Day. Saint Valentine's Day, commonly shortened to Valentine's Day, is an annual commemoration held on February 14 celebrating love and affection. The day is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine and was established byPope Gelasius I in 496 AD. Legend has it that a certain third-century priest named Valentine, despite a ban by Claudius II, persisted in performing marriage ceremonies (Claudius was convinced that single men made better soldiers for his army).

Valentine was thrown into jail where he formed a relationship with his jailor's daughter (some say he cured her blindness) and he signed his last message to her "From your Valentine,". St. Valentine was executed of February 14th around the year 270. In medieval European history, it was thought that February 14th was the date on which the birds started to mate. From Parlement of Foules a poem by Chaucer: “for this was on seynt Volantynys day/ Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his mate.” In the 1400’s on Valentine’s Day, the French royal court held a Cour Amoreuse, in which ministers met after mass in “joyous recreation and talk about love”.

Love poems were presented before the ladies, who judged them and awarded a golden crown for the best one. The first valentine on record was sent in 1415 by Charles Duke of Orleans to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. That message is on display in the British Library. According to one particular website, “an ipod is a cool gadget and one of the most popular Valentine’s gifts these days” – I bet the writer of that article was a man! Personally, I still don’t quite conceive of the notion of giving a present on Valentine’s Day. Call me a romantic schmuck but still the idea of a homemade card or just spending some quality time together doing something nice appeals to me. It’s the thought that counts for me, not how much is spent on the latest gadget, or the glitziest pair of earrings. So what are Freedom Holiday Homes doing this Valentine’s Day?

Well, we have a number of lovely homeowners who have agreed to put some chocolates and a bottle of cava in their properties, if you book a mini break or a full week for the week commencing 10th 11th February: Westfield Apartment, Hawkhurst, Viking Court Apartment, Canterbury, Candlemas Studio, Alciston. All of these properties sleep 2 and will give you that much needed time away, together. Unfortunately I shan't be able to take advantage of such an amazing offer, in the height of romance, my partner is spending Valentine's in another continent on a free work trip so please tell us your stories of love to restore my faith in romance!