Mystery of Valentine’s Day origins …
Every 14th February around the world, chocolates, flowers and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine.
The history of Valentine’s Day and its patron saint is shrouded in mystery. February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition.
One legend has Valentine as a priest from 3rd century Rome who performed marriages in secret when Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage for young men, believing single men made better soldiers. Another story has an imprisoned Valentine who fell in love with a young girl who visited, writing her a letter signed ‘from your Valentine’; an expression still in use today. The stories all emphasise his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and romantic figure.
St. Valentine has a wide range of spiritual responsibilities as patron saint of engaged couples and happy marriages; but also for interventions regarding bee-keeping, epilepsy, the plague, fainting and travelling. By the Middle Ages, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France.
Some claim that St. Valentine’s Day is celebrated in mid-February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death around 270 AD, but others claim the Church tried to ‘Christianise’ the pagan celebration of Lupercalia which was celebrated on 15th February – a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus (the Roman god of agriculture), as well as the founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus. The priests would sacrifice a goat for fertility and a dog for purification and according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in an urn. The city bachelors would choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman – these matches often ending in marriage.
At the end of the 5th century Pope Gelasius declared 14th February to be St. Valentine’s Day and during the Middle Ages it was commonly believed this was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that it should be a day for romance.
Although Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, written Valentines didn’t begin to appear until after 1400. There is no record of romantic celebrations on Valentine’s Day prior to Geoffrey Chaucer’s poem ‘Parliament of Foules’ wrote around 1375 where he linked a tradition of courtly love with the celebration of St. Valentine’s feast day. The poem refers to 14th February as the day birds (and humans) come together to find a mate and he may have invented the holiday which we know today.
In Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated around the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology.
So if you’d like to spend some quality time with your loved ones, come and enjoy our special celebrations here at Park House.
Valentine’s Dinner – see here. Plus enjoy free entry into our prize draw with a chance to win full use of our award-winning spa facilities for the day for 2 people worth £90!!
Valentine’s Treat – indulge your senses with our 1/2 day spa offer – see here.
Moonlight Moments – luxurious full spa day offer – see here.
And for engaged couples, many congratulations and do join us for our Wedding Show – see here.