The history of Valentine’s Day, legend says, originated during the third century in Rome. During this time, Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers, so he outlawed marriage for young men. A young priest named Valentine was furious with this injustice and defied Claudius by continuing to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. Claudius eventually discovered Valentine’s actions and sentenced him to death (not quite the fate of those who fail to buy their significant others flowers on Valentine’s Day, but clearly a lesson to be learned from history!).

During his time in jail, Valentine fell in love with his jailer’s daughter, who visited him in prison. Before he was put to death, Valentine sent a letter to the girl and signed it, “From Your Valentine” — an expression we still use today. Valentine was executed on February 14, 270 AD. Later, around 496 AD, Pope Gelasius declared Feb. 14 a day to honor Valentine, who by that time had become a saint.

Today, we continue to honor St. Valentine and recall the history of Valentine’s Day each year on February 14 by celebrating our love for significant others, friends, and family. For thousands of years, the middle of February has been a time for fertility festival celebrations, so it is no wonder Valentine’s Day flowers are often the Valentine’s Day gift of choice around this time of year. For centuries, flowers have symbolized fertility, love, marriage, and romance.

Valentine's Day Tulips

The history of giving your loved one Valentine’s Day flowers comes from the old-fashioned custom of sending floral bouquets to pass on non-verbal messages. Introduced in the 18th century by Charles II of Sweden, each flower had a specific meaning attached to it, making it possible to have an entire conversation using only flowers. Today, people continue to send flowers on special occasions or to express sentiments of love and admiration.

In addition to flowers, other contemporary symbols of Valentine’s Day include chocolates, candy hearts, and cards. According to the U.S. Greeting Card Association, approximately one billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year worldwide, making it the second largest card-sending holiday.

Valentine’s Day is also one of the biggest holidays to send flowers. The rose is the traditional Valentine’s Day flower, as it signifies romantic love, but there are many other flowers that people send to communicate the different types of love they feel for those important people in their lives. This Valentine’s Day, the pros at ProFlowers have created magnificent bouquets that fit every type of love and budget. With Valentine’s Day choices that cover the spectrum of affection, here are a few suggestions from ProFlowers to help you celebrate the history of Valentine’s Day (and not meet the same fate as St. Valentine!):

  • Roses – A holiday tradition, ProFlowers offers a selection of one, two, or three dozen long-stemmed or short-stemmed red roses to send to your lover this Valentine’s Day.
  • Three Days of Valentines – Your love is so hot that you need more than just one day to celebrate. Surprise your sweetheart by sending her/him one ProFlowers bouquet on Valentine’s Day and two others during the following days. Continue celebrating your love for one another after Valentine’s Day is over.
  • Scent with Love – Send your crush this mixed bouquet of pink oriental lilies, white freesia, and bells of Ireland from ProFlowers this Valentine’s Day to find out if Cupid’s arrow has struck and she/he feels the same way about you!
  • Valentine’s Day Spectacular – Use Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to remind your mom and/or grandma that you love her and are thinking about her, whether she is near or far, with this beautiful arrangement of stargazers and blue irises from ProFlowers.
  • Loves Me, Loves Me Not Daisies – Single or not, remind your friend how fabulous she/he is this Valentine’s Day and how much you treasure your friendship by sending this pretty arrangement of daisies from ProFlowers.

Christopher Elbow Chocolates