How much do you know about Valentine’s Day?
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, we’re excited for our Valentine’s Disco on the 11th February. There’ll be hot dogs, gift stalls and sweets galore to celebrate the special day.
But do you know where Valentine’s Day comes from?
The tradition was started by the ancient Romans, who celebrated a festival known as Lupercalia. This was a pagan festival that was created to cleanse cities and bring good healthy and fertility. Some historians believe that in the 5th century, Pope Gelasius I turned this into Valentine’s Day in order to Christianise it.
There’s an air of mystery over who St. Valentine was, but there are a few popular legends. One is that he was a priest in third century Rome. Emperor Claudius II believed that single men were better soldiers than men in families, so he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine disagreed and continued to perform secret marriages, although he was eventually discovered.
Another legend is that Valentine was a man in prison after trying to help Christian’s escape prison. He was in love with his jailor’s daughter, and at the end of his life he wrote a letter to his love signed off with “from your Valentine” – an expression you might have heard in more recent times. This is thought to have been the first Valentine’s exchange.
While we may not be confident over who St. Valentine was, the celebration is a deep-rooted tradition. The first written Valentine found was from from the 1400s. The day celebrated across the world, with a variety of different traditions. In some parts of Lebanon, for example, Valentine’s Day is about family love rather than a couple’s love and so it’s common to see the whole family celebrate. In Finland, the day is about celebrating friendships.
Valentine’s cards became popular in the 18th century, but these were handmade. It was in 19thcentury Britain that pre-printed cards appeared. Industrialisation meant new technology that could mass-produce these cards, and reforms in the Royal Mail meant that it became easier for the working-class person to send them to their loved ones.
This trend of sending cards soon made its way to America, and in 1913 Hallmark produced their first Valentine’s card. This is when the true commercialisation of Valentine’s Day started, and the traditions as we know them today.
Join us for this year’s Valentine’s Disco by purchasing tickets on sQuid or sending the money in an envelope with your child’s name and class.