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Published on February 14th, 2019 | by Sam Rose

What Makes Valentine’s Day So Special?

Many of us have been celebrating Valentine’s Day in some way or another for years now – but what is it that makes it so special?

The tradition of Valentine’s Day has been one which has seen us exchange all manner of gifts alongside Valentine Cards as a way to show our love and appreciation for someone.

Whilst we know that Valentine’s Day is a regular day we mark on our calendars on the 14th of February, how exactly did it begin and what makes it such a special day?

St. Valentine

Saint Valentine Valentine's Day

If we travel back to a very early time in history, we can link the beginnings of Valentine’s Day to that of a now famous saint. Much of the details behind St. Valentine will probably remain shrouded in mystery but an early belief is that St. Valentine was a Priest in Rome during the third century AD.

Much of the symbolism and ideas around what we now know as Valentine’s Day are said to have stemmed from an act of defiance from St. Valentine against the Emperor at the time, Emperor Claudius II.

Claudius, believing that men who were married made for bad and ineffective soldiers, placed a ban on the act of marriages. Believing this to be an unnecessary and unfair abuse of power, St. Valentine allowed others to break this imposed ban by helping them arrange their marriages in secret.

Once Emperor Claudius II found out about the secret marriages taking place and who was responsible for allowing them to happen, Claudius demanded that St. Valentine was thrown into prison and sentenced to death.

It was at this point, that St. Valentine found a love of his own when first seeing and meeting the jailer’s daughter. In one last act of defiance and in a sombre declaration of his love, St. Valentine penned her a love letter on the date in which he was due to be executed.

The letter was signed “from your Valentine” and the date of this event occurring?

The 14th of February.

The Celebration of Valentine’s Day

Valentine's Day Calendar Blocks

Despite this bleak story of origin, St. Valentine inspired others through his defiant act and lasting actions. In fact, the very first Valentine’s Day took place in the year 496AD. It was said to have originated from a Roman festival.

The festival that Valentine’s Day is believed to have been inspired from was one named Lupercalia. This festival would usually take place during the middle of February and would mark the start of their spring time.

During these festival celebrations, an unusual but heartwarming ceremony would take place in which boys attending the festival would draw the names of girls from a box.

Those that were drawn together by these picks would be known as boyfriend and girlfriend throughout the remainder of the festival. Some even were married there and then!

As the festival and the traditions associated with it progressed through time, the Christian Church become fond of the festival and wished to adapt it to hold it in remembrance of St Valentine too.

Eventually, the 14th of February would become known as Valentine’s Day, an event in which people publicly express their feelings to those they most treasure and love.

Valentine’s Day in Numbers

So, whilst we understand the historical and traditional importance of Valentine’s Day, what else makes this day so significant and special?

Well take a look at a few of these facts and figures and you may understand just how big of a deal it has become!

  • Around 110 million Valentine’s roses are sold 2-3 days leading up to Valentine’s Day on February 14th.
  • It has become the second biggest event in the calendar following Christmas, with the UK estimated to spend around £880 million on Valentine’s Day itself!
  • 36% of gift buyers will check prices on their mobile phone whilst shopping for a Valentine’s Day gift for a loved one.
  • 50% of people will use cash in order to purchase gifts for Valentine’s Day, with the other 50% opting to use debit and credit cards instead.
  • Approximately £787m is spent worldwide on Valentine’s Day cards every year.
  • There are now 900+ different types of Valentine Cards available to purchase.

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