Although the origin of Valentine's Day and even the story of St. Valentine himself are not entirely clear, many people across the world follow the tradition of celebrating the "Day of Love & Appreciation".
The only facts known are that the day contains both Christian and ancient Roman elements. The Catholic Church, for instance, recognises at least seven different saints named Valentine, all having been martyred. Whilst there are no obvious romantic elements in the early medieval biographies of any of those martyrs, there are a number of legends surrounding St. Valentine that bear a strong romantic component.
According to one story, a young priest named Valentine defied Emperor Claudius II by marrying young lovers after the practice had been outlawed. Helping Christians at this time was considered a crime for which Valentine was torutured and eventually beheaded. Some believe that it was him who during his time in prison wrote the first Valentine's card to a young woman, addressed "From your Valentine".
St. Valentine's Day was officially declared 14 February by Pope Gelasius around AD 498, when he abolished the pagan celebration of Lupercalia.
The first written record of the association between Valentine's Day and romantic love is in "Parliament of Foules" (1382) by Geoffrey Chaucer, which was written in honour of the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia, who were married around the age of 14.
The earliest suriving Valentine greeting is a 15th century rondeau written by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt.
Valentine's Day is also mentioned by Ophelia in Shakespeare's Hamlet:
To-morrow is Saint Valentine's day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
Then up he rose, and donn'd his clothes,
And dupp'd the chamber-door;
Let in the maid, that out a maid
Never departed more.
(William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5)
Event: Deja vu
A truly thoughtful gift is a recreation of the moment you first met your sweetheart, your first date or any other day that is special and meaningful to you as a couple. Depending on what you did that day, think about a movie or song that reminds you of the occasion and use it a prop for your gift. Add a note "Remember how it all began? Thanks for being in my life!"
Journal: Love story
A pretty journal is a great gift if you add a personal touch: Write down your feelings of what your partner means to you, the reasons for your love and your fondest memories of shared moments and experiences. You can even start a tradition and pass the book back and forth (on important dates or whenever you feel like it), so over time both of you write down your personal love story.
Food: Lovers fortune
A box of delightful chocolate cookies, along with a note saying "You are my fortune - I love you!" are all it takes to make this romantic gift special.
10K gold 0.25 tcw diamond heart necklace
My boyfriend surprised me by picking out this gift himself. He typically does not give surprise presents, so I did not expect it at all. I was touched that he spent hours picking out the perfect necklace for me. He even asked other people for their opinions and had a woman with the same build as me try on the necklace so he would know what length of chain to get! I love the workmanship of the piece that reflects my boyfriend's down-to-earth tastes---very elegant and understated. In a way, it reflects the qualities I admire in my boyfriend. Every morning I put on the necklace and I know how much he cares about me because of the hard work it took for him to get me this gift.
A coffee/mug gift set
I already had like 10 mugs and tons of coffee in the cabinet. Sure I could use it but it wouldn't last long at all. It seemed like a gift you would give your boss or a co-worker. It was disappointing to receive it from my husband!
Traditionally, Navajo weddings include a special ceremonial basket to represent the union of two people destined to be together. Made of interwoven coils, the braided basket is said to symbolise the joining of soul mates for all eternity.
The tying of knots symbolises love, loyalty and friendship.
According to European folklore, a woman could retain her lover's interest by tying a knot in his handkerchief and placing it in his breast pocket.
Bridal bouquets often have cascading ribbons in which many knots have been tied, each one holding wishes for fidelity and happiness.
German legend tells of a knight and his lady who were walking along the river banks on the eve of their wedding when they saw a spray of beautiful flowers in the river below. The lady begged him to retrieve them for her and as he dove into the water, clutching the flowers in his hand he was swept away by the turbulent waters. Struggling against the current, the knight cried out "forget me not", giving the flowers their name.
Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.
For twas not into my ear you whispered But into my heart Twas not my lips you kissed But my soul.
Oh, if it be to choose and call thee mine, love, thou art every day my Valentine!
Love is the poetry of the senses.
Love is the smoke made with the fume of sighs.