As Valentines Day approaches for another year, I have started to wonder why this celebration of love pivots around the giving and recieving of flowers. So, this is some of what I have found out.
For centuries flowers have been associated with and symbolised fertility, love, marriage and ROMANCE. Mid February has traditionally been a time of celebration for fertility festivals for many centuries.
But, it is a young Roman priest Valentine, who in the 3rd Century was sentenced to death for performing marriage rites to young men and their loves, who cemented February as the month of LOVE.
At this time Emperor Claudius II had outlawed marriage of young men because he believed they made the strongest soldiers. The young priest believed this to be unjust and so performed the ceremony in secret. When he was foundout, he was sentenced to death. But, awaiting his sentence, he fell in love with the jailors young daughter and before his death on 14 February, he sent her a letter signed “From Your Valentine”, words that are still used today.
Years later, Valentine was cannonised, made a saint, and Pope Gelasius declared 14 February the day to honour Saint Valentine.
The giving of flowers to your special someone became more fashionable during mid 1700’s when the French and English discovered the siginificance of the meaning of flowers when visiting Turkey. An entire language of flowers was found which gave meaning to different flower types. Later the Victorians developed the floriography (language of flowers) and used flowers as a way to express their emotions, something which was not considered proper in normal society.
The giving and recieving of flowers is not the sole domain of loved up youngsters. Flowers are now used for all occassions; for love, for grief, for support, for apologising and for new life.
I love recieving flowers as much as the next girl and might just think of poor Saint Valentine who was a bit of a rebel, standing up for love and marriage.