The day of love is almost here and we at TJK have been pondering the idea of where Valentine’s Day comes from. Does it have roots in the depths of history or is it really a day Hallmark created in the 1900’s?
Who was St Valentine?
The history of Valentine’s Day from its pagan routes to today’s commercial dominance is one of blood, sacrifice and gift giving. Quite a combination I hear you say!
As early as the Pre Christian Era, there is evidence of a festival falling on the 13th, 14th and 15th February. However this festival is the pagan fertility celebration Lupercaplia. According to legend this celebratory day, dedicated to the Roman God of agriculture Faunus, as well as Romulus and Remus (the wolf reared founders of Rome) was a progression of events throughout the day commencing with the slaughter of sacrificial goats and dogs who were then skinned. The women of Rome were then whipped with the animal skins to signify a good year’s fertility in the offing. After this “blessing” the women’s names would be collated in an urn from which the men of Rome could pick their partner for the year. A Valentine in it’s earliest form!
The first confirmed “Valentine” by name is Valentine of Terni, a Christian martyred by the Emperor Aurelian in AD 197. He was apparently put to death on the 14th February because of his Christian beliefs.
In AD 289 another Christian, the priest Valentine of Rome was martyred, this time under the rule of Emperor Claudius. He was accused of giving aid to prisoners whilst under arrest. He was also said to have converted his own jailer after curing his daughter’s blindness. He ultimately fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and subsequently sent her a note “From her Valentine”. He was also supposed to have died on the 14th February. However unlikely the tale it does pull at the heart strings.
The Christians, in AD 496 adopted a “can’t beat them, join them” approach to the pagan feast day, naming the 14th February St Valentine’s Day, the first official reference to the holiday we know today.
From the 1300’s onwards the Christian holiday became more and more related to love as it was quoted by notable poets and writers of the age, from Chaucer to Shakespeare’s Hamlet:
“Tomorrow is Saint Valentine’s Day All in the morning betime And I a maid at your window To be your Valentine”
Following the growing English tradition, the American, Esther Howland of Massachusetts started to produce printed greetings cards in 1847. The birth of the Valentine’s Day we know, and love, today.
So Whats the Point of the Gifts??
In 1913 Hallmark produced their first Valentine’s Day card and so began the commercialisation of the most romantic day of the year. During the 1920s to the 1980s there was a noticeable increase in sales of Chocolates, Flowers, Cards and Beauty Products during the month of February as St Valentine’s Day was marketed as a time for giving. The 1980s took a real turn for the “flashy” with the introduction of diamond industry campaigns; a woman’s best companion, heralding a complete shift in the Valentine’s Day ideology.
Here at TJK we think it’s really important to show the people you love what they mean to you, but that doesn’t mean you have to go out and spend your fortune. In the words of the great Tom Jones “You’ve got to give a little love” so go out there and purchase your loved one a card and join the 150 million senders estimated for this year.
But why not think about a different type of gift this year? Buy into an ideal, an ethos, a world changing outlet. Buy natural!
Indulge your loved one’s senses with the sumptuous tones of the Tabitha James Kraan Valentine’s Day Gift Set, containing the divinely perfumed Hair Perfume with essential oils of Neroli and Bergamot to hydrate, soothe and uplift partnered with the luxurious Amber Rose Cleanser and Conditioner. The perfect organic gift this Valentine’s Day.