A quick tour through the histories and legends surrounding Valentine’s Day will lead you to a disjointed tale starting with persecution and executions in ancient times. Not very romantic, eh? There appears to be no one, definitive origin but the general consensus is that Valentine’s Day as we know it, was inspired at least, by several Christian martyrs named ‘St. Valentine’ who lived around 1800 years ago.
We’d challenge anyone to find a link (beyond a name and a date) between these histories and modern Valentine’s Day… which is perhaps why a number of legends have been created to fill in the romantic blanks.
The romantic in us wants to believe in the legend of St. Valentine, a cleric who defied a Roman Emperor’s law that forbade young men from marrying, believing it distracted them from their military duties. So the story goes, St. Valentine continued to conduct secret wedding ceremonies until he was found out and thrown in jail. A modern day embellishment on this tale – created by American Greetings – concludes that once in jail and on the eve of his execution, St. Valentine himself sent the first ‘Valentines’ card to his beloved – ‘from your Valentine’.
Fast forward a lot of centuries (past a few vague references in the middle ages) and you find that modern Valentine’s Day practices have their roots in the late 1700s when an English publisher decided to give the romantically challenged a helping hand in expressing their feelings – in the form of sentimental versus. Soon these versus were produced on cards and with the postal system becoming more accessible, so started the popularity of sending cards. The first mass produced factory cards actually date back to the late 19th century – a little earlier than you were expecting perhaps?
Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day 2012 is just around the corner! How will you be celebrating? If you’re pro-Valentine’s day, perhaps a romantic getaway to a Sandman or Sandman Signature Hotel is in order? We have hotels in many of the destinations that Amazon.ca has just named Canada’s most romantic destinations – including Victoria, Toronto, Kelowna, Langley and Regina.
Hate it? Then perhaps you should check out your nearest Anti-Valentine’s Day events! Gather up your friends and check out the Sutton Place Hotel’s “Be My Anti-Valentine” package in Vancouver. Build your own Sundaes in your room, get unlimited in-room movies, a voodoo doll, cocktails in the Gerard lounge, breakfast and a late check out!
However you choose to celebrate (or ignore) Valentine’s Day – here’s hoping you have a fabulous February 14th!