Valentines Day – It’s history and how we celebrate today.

Feb 4, 2021 | Weddings

Most days at the moment can feel fairly monotonous but if you are one of the estimated one million people who is planning to propose on Valentines Day – the 14th February 2021 certainly is not going to be run of the mill.

Conversely you may be one of the many who are hoping for a proposal on Valentine’s Day.

Is Valentines Day the most popular day for marriage proposals?

You would think Valentine’s Day would be the most popular day for marriage proposals.  But you would be wrong.  According to insights from WeddingWire’s 2020 Newlywed Report, the most popular month to get engaged is December and by a fair way.

The so called ‘proposal season’ starts on Christmas Day and is therefore ranked Number 1 and Valentines Day concludes ‘the season’ and comes in at a lowly fifth position behind Christmas eve, New Years Day and 22nd December.

Seems St Valentine was a bit of legend

Nobody really knows or can agree on the true history from which the present-day holiday takes inspiration.

The popular belief about St Valentine is that he was a priest from Rome in the third century AD.  Emperor Claudius II had banned marriage because he thought married men were bad soldiers.

Valentine felt this was unfair so performed secret weddings against the wishes of the authorities.  Good on him I say!

He was imprisoned in the home of a noble and sentenced to death.  Whilst in jail he healed his captor’s blind daughter, causing the whole household to convert to Christianity and sealing his fate.

Before being tortured and decapitated on 14th February he sent the girl a note signed “your valentine”.

But it seems that we have a medieval poet who first established the romantic tradition.

Within “Parliaments of Fowls” written by Geoffery Chaucer in the 14th century contains a line “for this was on Saint Valentines Day, when every bird comes there to choose his mate”.

Chaucer and other writers of his time celebrated romance between knights and noble ladies who could never marry and had begun writing poems known as Valentines to their love interests.

It was only then that stories began to appear linking Saint Valentine to romance.


A little known fact about St Valentine – he’s a busy fellow

Valentine is the the Patron Saint of engaged couples but also bee keepers, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travellers, and young people. He is represented in pictures with birds and roses and his feast day is celebrated on …..  well you know that!

Don’t let’s forget cupid

Cupid the winged baby is now symbolic with Valentines Day.

Cupid was the son of Venus, the goddess of love and beauty.  Legend has it that he shoots magical gold tipped arrows, piercing the heart causing individuals to fall deeply in love.

Legends also say that Cupid has good and not so good arrows.  The not so good arrow has a blunt lead tip that makes people fall out of love.  Oh dear.

Over the centuries artists have created works of art depicting Cupid as a baby angel. This same version began to appear on Valentine’s Day cards during the late 1800s.

Ever since, the image of Cupid as a flying infant who inspires love has stuck in people’s minds – our modern day Cupid.


Commercialism of modern day Valentines Day

As a hopeless romantic and as a wedding celebrant you’d think I’d be a fan of Valentines day but to be honest I’m not that keen.

This is mainly due to the commercialised circus it has turned into like so many other calendar events.

I’m actually quite keen on the idea of a boycott.  This would prevent people thinking they should just be romantic on special occasions.  When really they should be romantic at any time when they feel like it.

Furthermore, whether you are a teenager or adult looking for love, the commercialism of it all can reinforce the very fact that Yes, you are on your own and lead to insecurities about being single.  The reality is that that the right person just hasn’t turned up yet.

Love is much deeper and much more profound than sending red roses, chocolates etc

Some people really feel the pressure for something extravagant to happen on 14th February and are weighed down by disappointment if doesn’t.

It’s the gestures, both big and small, that make you feel especially touched and cherished by your partner.   That is true romance.

So don’t despair if you are on your own or there are no cards, chocolates, flowers or champagne. One day in February isn’t special but YOU are.


My personal experiences of Valentines Day

My husband and I will be celebrating 30 years together this year and haven’t once given each other even a card to celebrate Valentine’s Day.   We’ve never really felt the need.

Having said that, some years quite unexpectedly he has gone out to the garden and hunted for a flower of some sort (quite a feat in February)  and then presented it to me as if it is the biggest bunch of roses you have ever seen.

It makes me laugh every time.  Having said that he is just as likely to do that on any other day of the year; in other words just because he feels like it.

So what will Valentines day 2021 be like?

What’s Valentines Day going to be like this year.  Sadly rather different to many previous ones because of ‘you know what’!

In some cases it may be that couples will not be together at all,  for others they have literally been cocooned for months.  For some there’s pressure to express your love with a grand gesture.  Others believe it’s the little things that count.

My advice is to do what’s best for you and be yourselves and celebrate Valentines Day they way it suits you.

It’s showing the person you love that you’re thinking about them.  It shouldn’t feel forced.  There are no limits.  It can be shown by a handwritten note, by going for a walk, or even by making someone a sandwich.

Romance is simple, sweet and innocent that reminds your partner why they fell in love with you in the first place.

My fondest wish is that you may all find happiness in yourself and in your relationship, no matter what stage you are at – perhaps single and having a ball, in a blissful union or recovering from a broken heart.  Happy Valentines to you all.





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