L’amour. Romanza. Romance.
In every language, the love between two people has been recorded throughout history in books, music and films. The Greek people have even created eight different words that convey types of love, including deep friendship, longstanding love and, importantly, love of the self. Valentine’s Day is an opportunity celebrate your relationships by sharing with your loved ones messages of endearment and displays of affection.
In many regions of the world, including Australia, we celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14. The romantic conception of the day began in 18th century England however the earliest records of the origins of Valentine’s Day were from the third century Roman Empire when various narratives recount Saint Valentine of Rome doing good deeds such as restoring the vision of his jailer’s daughter. It wasn’t until the 18th century when these narratives included Saint Valentine signing a letter to his jailer’s daughter “Your Valentine” before he was led to his execution. The date itself marks the death of Saint Valentine of Rome in AD269 which later became the date of The Feast of Saint Valentine in his honor in AD496.
As the occasion began to grow a following in the 14th and 15th centuries, the expression of romantic gestures such as exchanging flowers, sweets and handwritten cards formed into annual traditions. While the 19th century may have brought with it an influx of mass-produced cards, there are many other beautiful traditions that take place around the world on Valentine’s Day. In the Phillipines, classic traditions such as gifting flowers and chocolates still occur, however in rural areas, a serenaded love song is a welcome alternative. In Japan, tradition ensues that women present the gifts, with men unable to return the gesture until March 14. One of our favourite traditions is celebrated in Denmark, where friends and partners exchange beautiful handmade cards containing small, pressed white flowers called “snowdrops” that are local to the Danish countryside.
Classic symbols you will see relating to Valentine’s Day include hearts, roses, doves and of course Cupid with his bow and arrow. In Greek mythology, Cupid is the god of desire, love and affection. It is thought Cupid is portrayed as a baby to represent the fusion of two people in love. His magical gold-tipped bows are said to be able to piece the heart of both gods and humans and cause the recipient to fall deeply in love. The dove also has ties to Greek mythology due to their association with Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Aphrodite’s chariot, encrusted in gold and jewels, was drawn by a flock of 12 white doves. Frequently symbolised as both love and peace, a pair of doves is said to represent love taking flight, which is why they are sometimes released at engagement or wedding celebrations.
Alongside exchanging cards, the most popular Valentine’s Day tradition is the gifting of chocolate. This only commenced in 1861 when British chocolatier Richard Cadbury initiated selling chocolate packaged in heart-shaped boxes adorned with decorative cupids and rosebuds to celebrate the occasion, invoking a new tradition that would come to be popular worldwide.
Valentine’s Day is a valuable reminder to cherish our relationships and take time to invest in them, whether it be with your partner or family and friends. Here at Willie Creek Pearls, we like to take it as an opportunity to show appreciation to our wonderful team. However you choose to celebrate, we hope there are some special people in your life you can share a card or words of affection with.