Valentine's Day - a brief history
1st February 2017
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The New Year sales are over and now the shops are filled with hearts, flowers and all things pink and red. So I decided to find out a little more about the history surrounding Valentine's day, the most romantic of holidays.

Valentine's day started its life as a three day fertility festival called Lupercalia which took place in mid-February in the Roman times. The Church then chose the same date to Christianise the celebrations: it is thought that a Christian cleric named Valentine was sentenced to death on the 14th February for carrying out marriages in secret after they were barred by Emperor Claudius who thought that single men made better soldiers.

Valentine's Day was first mentioned in literature in a poem by Geoffrey Chaucer in 1382: in the Parliament of Birds, written to celebrate the engagement of Richard II and Anne of Bohemia, Chaucer wrote “For this was on St Valentine's Day/When every fowl cometh there to choose his mate”. And so the stage was set…

The oldest surviving Valentine letter is a poem by Charles Duke of Orleans to his wife written in 1415 whilst he was imprisoned in the Tower of London.

By the 17th Century people in the UK had begun to exchange Valentine's day cards or letters and the first ever commercial card was produced in the US in the 1870s. It is now celebrated all over the world.

Whether you celebrate Valentine's day or not, I hope that you spend it surrounded by loved ones.

About the Author

Victoria H

Member since: 11th March 2014

My name is Victoria Hunter and I'm a true Hertford person - I went to school in Hertford and grew up here. I understand the importance of bringing trusted businesses and the community together, and believe...

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