Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day; a day for romantics everywhere, where love tokens and missives are exchanged between lovers and hopeful secret admirers alike. We've celebrated Valentine's Day on February 14 for centuries, but do you know how Valentine's Day first came about?

Valentine's Day originated as a Christian feast day in the late fifth century to celebrate a martyred Valentine, though exactly which one and why has become lost with time. One theory attaches itself to Valentinus of Rome who, in the third century CE, was persecuted for ministering to Christians and performing secret wedding ceremonies for soldiers who were forbidden to marry.

Whilst imprisoned he fell in love with his jailer's daughter, Julia, after miraculously healing her blindness, and is said to have sent her a final love letter signed "Your Valentine" before his execution (though the last bit with the love letter is most likely a later romantic embellishment!).

The truth is, like many Christian feast days, St Valentine's Day was the set by the Roman Catholic Church to supersede an ancient pagan ceremony of Lupercalia, the dawning of Springtime fertility. It's no coincidence that the middle of February (in the northern hemisphere) is the time when spring bulbs begin to poke through the earth as nature shrugs off the mantle of winter, and animals emerg