Valentine's Day has been celebrated through the centuries.
The Middle Ages
Just for Children
Valentine’s Day became a holiday for children to participate. Little girls and boys would walk from home to home singing songs to the village dwellers. The mistress of each home would give flowers or money to the children. A special treat the children might receive was a sweet bun made with plum filling.
Just for Lovers
Most people could not read or write during the Middle Ages. As a result, words of love were spoken or sang to a loved one. Lovers also chose to wear their partner's sleeve as a testament of their love. (Instead of washing an entire garment, clothes were made so the sleeves could be removed and washed separately). The expression of "to wear one's heart on one's sleeve" is derived from this tradition.
England - The First Valentine
It is believed that the first Valentine was written around 1415 by a French nobleman, Charles, Duke of Orleans. The Duke was taken captive by British soldiers at the Battle of Agincourt. He was placed in the Tower of London where he yearned with thoughts of his beloved wife. During his imprisonment, he wrote love letters to her. (Today, the letters can be viewed at the British Museum).
Valentine's Day was a popular holiday during the Victorian Age. By the early 1800s, Valentines were decorated with satin ribbons and lace. Paper Valentines created during this time period are known as "Victorian Valentines."
Valentine's Day Tradition - Flowers
We associate flowers with Valentine's Day. What are the meanings behind each flower?
Iris - Iris in a bouquet meant, "look at the other flowers and see what they say."
Red Tulips - A declaration of love
Yellow Tulips - "My love seems hopeless"
Green Plants - Green plant leaves stand for hope. A cluster of chestnut leaves mean "I hope that you will treat me fairly."
Violets - Faithfulness
Rose - "I love you"