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Roses are red, violets are blue


Most are familiar with the poems associated with Valentine’s Day but what is it and why do we celebrate it? We take a look here…

Valentine’s Day, also called Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is an annual holiday celebrated on February 14th. It originated as a Western Christian liturgical feast day honouring one or more early saints named Valentinus, and is widely recognised as a significant cultural and commercial celebration in many regions around the world – despite it not being a public holiday in any country.

The day first became associated with romantic love within the circle of poet Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. In 18th-century England, it evolved further into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as ‘valentines’). Meanwhile, in Europe, Saint Valentine’s Keys are given to lovers ‘as a romantic symbol and an invitation to unlock the giver’s heart’, as well as to children, in order to ward off epilepsy (called Saint Valentine’s Malady).

Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass produced greeting cards. And in the UK, just under half of the population spends money on their Valentines, with approximately £1.9 billion being spent on cards, flowers, chocolates and other gifts in 2015.

Fun facts
Here are a few fun facts that you might not know about Valentine’s Day…

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