Saint Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is a holiday traditionally celebrated by 'lovers' around the world that falls every year on the 14th of February.

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Whilst St Valentine's day is rooted in pagan ritual, Victorian customs and Christian history, in recent times, the holiday has become a hugely commercial venture, with millions of chocolates, cards and flowers exchanged between lovers and admirers. Regardless of which tradition you follow, the romantic holiday of Valentine’s Day remains rife with mystery and lore.

For those unfamiliar with the origins of Valentine’s Day, below are three lesser-known facts, according to Zoe Mintz,  you need to know before you celebrate:

Pagan roots

Valentine’s Day is believed to take place in mid-February to commemorate the death of Saint Valentine; however others say the church looked to the pagan celebration of Lupercalia to decide when to celebrate.

The ancient pastoral festival, celebrated on Feb. 13-15, honoured Faunus, the god of fertility. Men would sacrifice a goat for fertility and a dog for purification.  They would use their hides to gently hit young women under the belief it would make them fertile. Afterwards, women would place their name in a jar. Roman bachelors would pick names who would be their match for the entirety of the festival and perhaps even longer.

Saint Valentine

At the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius banned the celebration of Lupercalia and made February 14 the day when Saint Valentine was celebrated.

According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, there are three different saints named Valentine, all of whom were martyrs. One was believed to be a priest jailed for helping Christians. He fell in love with the jailer’s daughter, whom he sent love notes to, and was later beheaded on the Flaminian Way outside Rome a second man who shared the name Valentinus was a bishop in Terni, near Rome, who was martyred.

The third and most popular St. Valentine was a Roman priest under Emperor Claudius II who continued to perform marriages despite the fact they were banned, as the emperor believed Roman men were not joining the army to stay with their families. After Valentine was imprisoned he may have befriended the emperor, but was sentenced to death after he tried to convert him. Valentine was beaten to death with clubs, according to Catholic tradition, on February 14 around the year 270.

Cards

These cards have been specially designed for nicoleoneil.com. They can be printed on A4 paper and personalised individually.

They are a cute idea for children to distribute at school, or to send to a secret admirerer, or two!

 See

See

Paris

Paris is known as the city of Love, so there would never be a better time to visit than with loved ones on Valentine's Day.

Paris is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Living in London meant I always had one foot in the door. Lunch in Paris, anyone?

 Eat

Eat

Dinner for 2?

Whilst restaurants are jam packed with tables for two and set menus, why not prepare a beautiful dinner at home. Nothing says 'I Love You' more than a home cooked meal.

SIngle? These recipes also work perfectly well for more than two. So why not celebrate or commiserate with friends!

 A romantic dinner for 2.... Shop the post...

A romantic dinner for 2.... Shop the post...