The month of love is upon us but have you ever wondered how we came to celebrate Valentine’s Day?
Valentine’s Day, or St Valentine’s Day, is celebrated every year on 14 February. It’s the day when people show their affection for another person or people by sending cards, flowers or chocolates with messages of love and affection, and then wine and dine their loved ones in the evening!
So, who was St Valentine? The day gets its name from a famous saint, but there are several stories of who he was. The popular belief about St Valentine is that he was a priest from Rome in the third century AD. Emperor Claudius II had banned marriage because he thought married men made bad soldiers. Valentine felt this was unfair, so he broke the rules and arranged marriages in secret. When Claudius found out, Valentine was thrown in jail and sentenced to death. There, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter and when he was taken to be killed on 14 February he sent her a love letter signed “from your Valentine”.
How did Valentine’s Day start? The first Valentine’s Day was in the year 496! Having a particular Valentine’s Day is a very old tradition, thought to have originated from a Roman festival. The Romans had a festival called Lupercalia in the middle of February – officially the start of their springtime. It’s thought that as part of the celebrations, boys drew names of girls from a box. They’d be boyfriend and girlfriend during the festival and sometimes they’d get married. Later on, the church wanted to turn this festival into a Christian celebration and decided to use it to remember St Valentine too. Gradually, St Valentine’s name started to be used by people to express their feelings to those they loved. The poet Chaucer in the Middle Ages was the first to link St Valentine with romantic love. This was the beginning of the tradition of courtly love, a ritual of expressing love and admiration, usually in secret. This custom spread throughout Europe and stories grew about a High Court of Love where female judges would rule on issues related to love on 14 February each year. Historians believe that these meetings were in fact gatherings where people read love poetry and played games of flirtation!
We love celebrating the most romantic of days at The House and our culinary team have been working tirelessly to perfect their undeniably sumptuous Valentine’s offering. Tables for Valentine’s Day are booking out quickly, so book your table at Beaufort House, the best restaurant in Chelsea, today to avoid disappointment by calling 020 7352 2828 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.