Valentines Day

Valentines Day, the day for love, arrives on February 14 each year. What’s became a greeting card holiday, a boon for retailers and sweethearts everywhere, has deep roots among the religious festivals and an interesting story to tell. Today, when you’re looking for ideas for Valentines Day, it’s helpful to know the story of the holiday. You’re standing in a long tradition where love wins the day and good triumphs. That’s a lot deeper than what could fit on a greeting card.

Saint Valentine

Saint Valentine
Saint Valentine

Ask many people to tell the story of Saint Valentine, they might not be able to supply a lot of detail. Maybe they could tell you it was some kind of distant saint who presided over the marriage of doomed lovers. But few will know there was more than one Saint Valentine in history. Around 270 A.D., a priest by the name of Valentine of Rome who was martyred for his service to Christians and willingness to perform forbidden weddings. The second Saint Valentine was a bishop of Terni, the capital of Italy’s Umbria regions. He too was a martyr, though many of the details of his story were lost to history.

History of Valentines Day

Both of the saints with the name of Valentine are honored on February 14, one of the many martyrs’ commemorations on the calendar of the Christian church. Several denominations have added Valentines Day to their calendars, including the Roman Catholic Church, Lutherans, and the Anglicans of England. The Eastern Orthodox Church, which often follows a different calendar, honors both saints Valentine in July. Over time, the holiday grew from a quiet religious day to a holiday filled with candy hearts, paper hearts, and grand displays of love. Early English poet Geoffrey Chaucer is largely credited with connecting the holiday with romantic love, a thought cemented by Renaissance painters and Romantic poets.

Valentines Day Cards

Valentines Day Cards
Valentines Day Cards

The English also gave us the tradition of greeting cards. At the very end of the 18th century, English publishers started selling cards and books where lovers could add their own thoughts before handing them to their beloved. As the postal service became commonplace and affordable, it quickly became a tradition to send these tokens of affection in mid-February. In Victorian England, Valentines Day cards became even more ornate, often festooned with ribbons and lace. At the beginning of the 20th century, an enterprising young man named Joyce C. Hall started a company in Kansas City that eventually came to define Valentines Day: Hallmark Cards. From cards, traditions grew to include other gifts, especially roses, candy, and hearts filled with chocolate.

Romantic Ideas for Valentines Day

Romantic Ideas for Valentines Day
Romantic Ideas for Valentines Day

Since Valentines Day is a fixed day and is not a holiday for most working people, many couples will go away for a romantic weekend as close to the day as possible. There are resort hotels not far from most people's homes, and most of these will offer getaway packages that include everything from champagne and flowers to an indulgent spa treatment. These resort hotels are as varied as glitzy Las Vegas properties like the Bellagio to grand old hotels like the venerable Mount Washington Hotel in New Hampshire's Green Mountains. A dozen red roses, a heartfelt card, boxes of candy, and declarations of love are all common on Valentine’s Day. Many people enjoy giving traditional gifts, just as many people enjoy receiving them. But that’s just the beginning of romantic ideas for Valentines Day. Sometimes heartfelt gifts are most appreciated, like a specially written poem or a custom composed song. Of all the gifts given on Valentines Day, the gift of time is one that has no equal.

Valentines Day Travel Packages

Many sweethearts plan to get away on or around Valentines Day, and many resorts and romantic destinations are happy to welcome vacationers in the middle of February. It’s not uncommon to find excellent deals for getaways at places around the world, especially romantic places like island resorts and beach towns. Hotels in citieslarge and small, from New York City to Valentine Nebraska also offer vacation packages for Valentines, including overnight accommodations and perks like gourmet dinners, carriage rides, and theater tickets.  

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