St. Valentine’s Day Flowers – The Myth and The History
St. Valentines Day – Where did it come from?
We donâ€™t think there should be rules about what type of flowers to send to anybody. They donâ€™t have to be roses, they donâ€™t have to be red and it doesnâ€™t have to be on St. Valentineâ€™s Day. But how and why did these conventions come about in the first place?
The day itself has been celebrated as the feast of lovers for centuries. Its origins are muddled but date back to Roman times.
14th February was the Roman festival of Lupercalia, a licentious festival of fertility where, by lottery, couples were coupled together for, wellâ€¦â€¦.coupling.
The date also coincides with the martyrdom of St. Valentine. He was a Christian priest executed by The Romans on 14th February for conducting illegal marriages. While awaiting his doom he cured his jailer’s daughter of blindness and is said to have written a note to her signing it â€śYour Valentineâ€ť – the forerunner of the modern Valentine Card. The date became celebrated as a saintâ€™s feast but like many Christian festivals it borrowed from the older pagan traditions of spring, renewal and fertility.
Valentine’s Day Flowers – Why Red and Why Roses?
Fast forward to the Middle Ages where, through the works of Chaucer and Shakespeare the date became linked with courtly love. The 18th century brought the giving of cards, chocolates and flowers with the red rose being a particularly popular choice. The rose had symbolic links to all things love going back to pre-history. It was associated with the Egyptian goddess Isis (the ideal mother / wife goddess) and also with the Greek goddess of love Aphrodite and latterly the Roman goddess of love, Venus. Red conveys fire, heat and strong emotion and so the red rose has symbolised love going back into the mists of time.
So donâ€™t blame flower shops or Hallmark for the madness at this time of year â€“ itâ€™s all down to ancient history why we celebrate the day in the first place and why the red rose is the most popular choice of flower.
Some interesting facts about the day:
- Over 100 million roses are supplied by the international flower markets based in Aalsmeer, Holland for Valentineâ€™s Day.
- 14th February is one of the most popular days for weddings, civil ceremonies and engagements.
- 85% of Valentineâ€™s cards sent are sent by women but 73% of the flowers sent are sent by men.
- Dublin has a unique link with St. Valentine â€“ his relics are housed at the Shrine of St, Valentine in Whitefriar Street Church.
- If you are unattached you can celebrate Singles Awareness Day which also falls on 14th