Valentine's Day is huge in the retail world, particularly for florists!! And even though the pessimists out there claim it's become completely commercial, there's no doubt it is the most romantic day or the year, and as a florist I love being the go between.
At Floreat we've become busier every year for Valentine's Day, and it's got me wondering, where did it all begin? So I started doing a bit of research.
There are a few different very sweet stories and legends I found floating around, from Christian to Pagan beginnings. But one of my favourites would have to be that of St Valentine, who was a priest who served during the third century in Rome.
When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, went behind Claudius's back and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Poor St Valentine.
A long time after that, they say that flowers and romantic poems and messages, "courtly love" started getting around with Chaucer's poem Parliament of Fowls, which describes a group of birds which gather together in the early spring to choose their mates for the year. Funnily enough the poem actually ends with the birds singing a song, having failed to choose their mates and deciding to defer the decision until the next year.
But I still think the most romantic Valentine's Day tale by far is this one!