I’ve often wondered about the history behind certain holidays and Valentine’s Day is no exception. In the spirit of the season let’s review the history of this amorous occasion. Legend says that it originated in third century Rome, when the Emperor of the era decided that young single men were better for war than love and promptly banned marriage. A young priest named Valentine continued to marry couples in secret. When discovered the Emperor sentenced poor Valentine to death. While in jail Valentine fell in love with the Jailer’s daughter and before he was hanged (on February 14th) he sent a letter to his sweetheart and signed it “from your Valentine” or so the story goes. Later, around 496 AD February 14th was declared Valentine’s day by a new more gracious emporer to honour him.
A pretty dramatic tale, so it’s no surprise the date has since been celebrated as a time for expressing love, marriage and fertility. Flowers have become synonymous with this celebration, most likely because they are already defined as symbolic of these emotional human experiences. The tradition of giving your beloved flowers comes from the historical custom of sending bouquets to have non-verbal conversations, when perhaps speaking was not possible (think Romeo & Juliette!). Introduced in the 18th century, flowers were given specific meanings by Charles II of Sweden, making it possible to have an entire conversation using only flora.
But what does each flower really mean? Roses are classic but there are also many other passionate options to choose from! I began to research the meanings for each flower and it is really too long to repeat, instead I’d like to share a fabulous chart you can reference when planning your flame’s flowers for this Valentine’s Day (added bonus it also indicates the bloom for your birth-month!).