Are you a lover of Valentine’s Day? Or does it make you cringe? Have you and your partner long given up on celebrating V-Day? Or maybe you are in the first stages of a new relationship and you’re wondering whether a Valentine’s Day date is cool anymore?
I get it, Valentine’s Day can feel like an over commercialised obligation rather than a true celebration of love. But, I really believe that it can be as authentic and heartfelt as you are willing to make it. And don’t we all deserve a bit of extra love?
But why is it traditional to give flowers as a Valentine’s Day gift? In this article I am going back to look at the history of Valentine’s Day to understand where this festival of love first started. I’m offering some suggestions for thoughtful gifts and sharing the symbolism behind popular Valentine’s Day flower choices. I hope it gets you inspired to take a fresh look at V-Day this year and spread some love to those closest to your heart.
History of Valentine’s Day
Back in the fifth century, when the Church was trying to wipe out all traces of pagan religion, a Pope created Valentine’s Day to replace the pagan festival Lupicalia, which celebrated spring and fertility.
It is thought that it was named Valentine’s Day after Saint Valentine, a Catholic priest from the third century. The Roman Emperor at the time forbade soldiers from marrying, believing they should be devoted only to Rome. Saint Valentine disobeyed the Emperor’s orders and married couples in secret, to prevent the men from being sent to war. Another story says that Saint Valentine, while imprisoned by the Romans, befriended his jailer’s daughter (and maybe healed her blindness) and signed his final letter to her with “from your Valentine”. He was supposedly executed on 14 February. Because of these stories, the festival of Saint Valentine has always been associated with the celebration of love and affection.
Valentine’s Day got really popular in the Middle Ages, when the famous poet Chaucer started linking it to romantic love, courting and secret expressions of love and admiration. Apparently on Feb 14 female judges were convened to make judgements on matters of love – although historians think it was more likely that men and women got together at these meetings to read poems and flirt with each other! Imagine if we had a modern day Valentine’s Day court presided over by female only judges to cast judgment on matters of love – that sounds like reality TV gold!
Valentine’s Day cards appeared way back in the late 17th century. They were used to send secret declarations of admiration, with little poems composed by the sender speaking to their Valentine’s beauty. Flowers have always been linked to marriage and love and fertility, way back to Egyptian times. But then in the Victorian era, floriography really took off. Floriogrpahy is the use of flowers to communicate secret messages. And so flowers – especially red roses – and Valentine’s Day became inextricably linked to each other. Cupids, hearts and doves have also traditionally been associated with the celebration of love.
These days, Valentine’s Day has been expanded to celebrate more than just romantic love between couples. It also celebrates friendship, and love between family members. In some countries, Galentine’s Day has been added to the social calendar on February 13 – a day for ladies to celebrate their besties (“gal-friends”). It was actually created by a TV character from the show Parks and Recreation – Leslie get’s all her friends together for brunch and “ladies celebrating ladies”. Sounds like a great idea to me! Lots of single people are also reclaiming Valentine’s Day as a celebration of self love.
So even though Valentine’s Day can sometimes feel a little cliche and cheesy, at its core it is a celebration of the most important relationships in our lives – with our partners, our family, our friends and ourselves. We shouldn’t need an official day each year to show these people how much we love them, but it definitely can’t hurt to shower your most special people with some love this Valentine’s Day.
Gift ideas for Valentine’s Day
Giving someone a gift for Valentine’s Day is a beautiful opportunity to stop for a moment and acknowledge how much they mean to you. Combine your gift with some quality time together and strengthen those bonds between you.
From long stemmed red roses to sophisticated natives to bright and cheerful bouquets of gerberas, you really can’t go wrong with giving flowers.
Flowers carry a lot of symbolism, send a message of love and affection, give an instant mood boost, smell so sweet and are a strong visual reminder of your love for days after V-day. Perfect for celebrating romantic love and all the other types of love in your life. Scroll down to see the symbolism associated with popular Valentine’s day flowers.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to giving someone flowers that suit you, the recipient and what your relationship means. You can also add in some extras for something a little more special, like chocolates or wine. I have lots of arrangements options ready to order, or get in contact and I can create a customised bouquet or hamper to suit your needs.
Plus floral arrangements can be delivered fresh directly to your Valentine, making them a great choice for long distance relationships, people who might be isolating and reminding those you might not have seen in person for a while that they have a special place in your heart.
Flowers for a year
Giving your Valentine a beautiful bunch of flowers is lovely, but what about giving them a beautiful bunch every month for a whole year? Now that would earn some brownie points 😊 Or what about sending yourself a bunch of flowers every month to brighten up your home or workspace? Check out my 12 month fresh flower subscription.
Go for dinner at a nice restaurant
It might feel like another cliché, but a romantic date at a nice restaurant can be such a delight – especially if you have kids, or other caring responsibilities. Treat yourselves to a lovely evening where neither of you have to cook, or clean, or put the kids to bed. You could even go a little crazy and leave your phones in the car so you can really talk to each other distraction free (go on, I dare you 😉)
If you are isolating or prefer not to head out to a restaurant, you could order a fancy meal or even your favourite takeaway treat for pick up or delivery.
Pack a picnic and head outdoors
A slightly different take on the restaurant dinner, but with all the benefits plus you can enjoy some fresh air. Grab a selection of cheeses, meats and other goodies or grab a local catering box. Find a romantic playlist on Spotify and job done 👍 (Ps don’t forget the bug repellant, no one wants a romantic picnic spoiled by mozzie bites!)
If the outdoors isn’t really your thing, or you are isolating, you could reconnect with your inner child and have a picnic at home in your backyard or living room!
Brunch date with the girls
Show your besties some love with a girls only, kid free brunch or cocktail session. Spending time with your friends is sooo good for the soul. And you could even surprise them with a little bouquet of pink roses to show your love and appreciation for their friendship.
Call your mum or sister
Embrace the modern take on V-day and call the other important women in your life. Let them know you are thinking of them, and that you appreciate having them in your life. Better yet, send them a bunch of flowers 😊
Book a self love date
Don’t forget about the other most important person in your life – yourself. Doesn’t matter if you are male or female, in a relationship or single, support Valentine’s Day or not. Everyone can benefit from showing themselves a little extra love and care. Book a massage, buy yourself flowers, take a bath with Rose essential oil added, take yourself out to the cinema, splurge on a nice meal…whatever it is that will make your heart happy.
Symbolism of flowers for Valentine’s Day
Flowers, especially roses, are a really popular Valentine’s day gift. Here are some of the flowers whose symbolism is most closely connected with messages of love and affection. Take these as inspiration, but you don’t have to be limited to just these. If your Valentine has a favourite flower then don’t be scared to ditch the traditions and get them a big bunch of their fave flowers instead!
The traditional symbol of everlasting love, affection, passion and beauty. A single red rose is a popular gift for a new (and maybe secret) Valentine, while a bouquet of red roses is more popular for long term couples.
Symbolising gratitude, appreciation and admiration, pink roses make a great option if you want to send flowers to your mum or sister or best friend – perfect for Galentines Day. Light pink roses are associated with grace, while deeper pinks are associated with saying thank you.
Perfect for a new relationship, white roses will share your hope for the future and new beginnings. They are linked to purity, innocence, humility and reverence. They are also associated with honour and remembrance, which make them a good choice if you want to remember a loved one who has departed.
Brighten up your friend’s day with a bunch of bright, happy yellow rose blooms. They symbolise friendship, joy and delight.
With a message of faithfulness, devotion, admiration and appreciation lillies make a fabulous and striking V-day alternative to roses. Or why not give a bouquet with roses and lillies to show someone how much you really love and admire them?
Available in a wide range of bright and happy colours, these are great in a mass bunch by themselves or added to a floral arrangement to celebrate all kinds of love. In general, red is linked to messages of romantic love, pinks to gratitude and admiration, orange for joy and yellow for happiness.
For more flower options linked to Valentine’s Day (and other occasions) check out my article The Meanings of Flowers.
So, my challenge to you this Valentine’s Day is to put your heart on your sleeve and treat your partner, your family and friends and yourself to some love. Check out my range of Valentine’s Day flower arrangements and gift options, or get in contact if you have a custom request. I love making your Valentine’s Day dreams blossom into reality!