Our Valentine’s Day collection is full of unique Valentine’s gifts. This year we’re celebrating love so look no further – from personalised jewellery to romantic keepsakes, we’ve all kinds of heartfelt finds.
But why do we celebrate Valentine’s day? From who the saint was, to lovely gift ideas, here is everything you need to know about Valentine’s Day.
The oldest Valentine poem was written by Charles, Duke of Orleans, for his wife in 1415. He was a prison-entrapped, pining lover, confined in the Tower of London after being captured at the Battle of Agincourt.
St Valentine was martyred and buried on February 14 at the Roman cemetery on the Via Flaminia. The most popular legend is that St Valentine – a priest from Rome – was arrested after secretly marrying Christian couples, who were being persecuted by Emperor Claudius II in the third century AD.
Because helping Christians was a crime, he was imprisoned. While imprisoned, he tried to convert the emperor to christianity and was condemned to death. He was beaten with stones and clubs, before being beheaded outside the Flaminian Gate.
Another legend adds that while in prison St Valentine fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and sent her a love letter signed ‘from your Valentine’ on February 14, the day of his execution, as a goodbye.
The feast of St Valentine of February 14 first started in 496 by Pope Gelasius I, who added Valentine among all those “… whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose acts are known only to God.”
St Valentine’s skull now resides in the Chiesa di Santa Maria in Cosmedin, on Rome’s Piazza Bocca della Verità, wearing a coronet made from flowers and with a stencilled inscription.
Cupid is known in Latin as Amor (“Love”). In Greek, he is Eros and he is just one of the ancient symbols associated with St Valentine’s Day, along with hearts, doves, and the colours red and pink.
Cupid, often portrayed as the son of the love goddess Venus and the war god Mars, is the god of desire, erotic love, attraction and affection.
People who fall in love are said to be ‘struck by Cupid’s arrow’ and he is often portrayed as a small winged figure with a bow and arrow which he uses to strike the hearts of people.
Egyptians thought that the heart was where our memories resided, as well as our emotions. They placed so much value on the organ that they left it in people’s bodies during mummification, while throwing the all other organs, including the brain, away. Aristotle also believed that the heart was an organ of intellect.
In 1184, poet Andreas Capallenus referred to the heart as one of feeling, writing ‘the pure love which binds together the hearts of two lovers with every feeling of delight’.
At about this time, European families began to insist their hearts were buried separately from the rest of their bodies, in places that were special to them.
In the middle of the 18th century that Valentine’s started to take off in England, with lovers sending sweets and cards with flowers, ribbons and images of cupids and birds.
Now about a billion Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged every year and it’s the second largest seasonal card sending time of the year.
Not all the cards are intended to be read: every year, thousands of letters addressed to Juliet are sent to Verona, where Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet lived.
The trend of anonymous cards was started by the Victorians, who thought it was bad luck to sign Valentine’s cards with their names. They also started the rose-giving trend. They were the favourite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love, and have come to symbolise passion and romance.
More than 50 million roses are given for Valentine’s Day every year.
Why not use our heart shaped chocolates mould and whip up some special Valentine’s chocolates.
We have some cute heart shaped baking tins too.