The History of Valentine's Day

Steve Betts | 19-Jan-18
Category : Valentine's Day

The History of Valentine's Day is not what you may think. Though now it consists of love and showing your devotion, is has had a mixed past. Here we look at how it came to be today.

What is Valentines Day? Here’s Everything You Need To Know

Every year on February 14th, couples around the world put time aside to spend together, in the name of love. Whether you’re married, engaged or in a long term relationship, you know that love isn’t always a walk in the park - it takes patience, understanding and compromise, but coming home to the one you love is the best feeling in the world. Valentine’s Day is a wonderful time of year, and it is magical to see so many couples make the effort to spend some quality time together and show their other half they appreciate them. However, at Urban Design Flowers, we believe you should tell your beau that you love them every day of the year - don’t just save it for Valentine’s Day!

Whether you’re taking your girlfriend or boyfriend out for dinner, going to the cinema or staying in with a bottle of wine, couples across the UK spent almost £1 billion in the build-up to Valentine’s Day in 2017 (GlobalData), and expenditure is expected to increase this year. But what is it all in the name of? Check out the history of Valentine’s Day below!   

The History of Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day has a complex history and despite popular belief, historians have shown that it has pre-Christian origins. Valentine’s Day never used to be about showering your significant other with red roses and trying to score a table at the best restaurant in Birmingham or London - the history of Valentine’s Day has a dark background involving execution, nudity and whipping.

5th Century B.C

Lupercalia - Ancient Roman Festival

The 13th, 14th and 15th of February were significant dates in ancient Rome, as they marked the dates of Lupercalia. This pastoral-annual festival took place in the city of Rome from the 13th-15th of February, with the aim of banishing evil spirits from the city, therefore purifying Rome whilst promoting health and fertility in the process.

The beginning of Lupercalia was marked with the sacrifice of a goat or a dog, after their bodies were taken to the altar. Once the sacrifice was over, men cut thongs from the animal’s skin and ran around  Palatine Hill, hitting any women who came near them. A strike from the thong would deem the women fertile. Interesting…

278 A.D

The Execution of Priest Valentine

The story of Saint (or Priest) Valentine is perhaps one of the most popular Valentine’s Day tales, and involves war, secrecy and religion. Back in 278 A.D, Emperor Claudius banned marriage and betrothals because he believed that soldiers who weren’t married or in a relationship fought better than those that were. Priest Valentine believed in the sanctity of marriage and started to marry couples in secret. When Emperor Claudius found out, Priest Valentine was arrested. Claudius took a liking to Valentine, up until Valentine tried to convert the Emperor to Christianity. After doing this, Valentine was sentenced to death, and on February 14th he was beaten and decapitated - legend suggests that the night before his decapitation he left a note for a friend signed, "from your Valentine."

Why do we send flowers on Valentine’s Day?

When it comes to sending the ultimate Valentine’s Day gift, red roses and flowers have withstood the test of time. Roses and other flowers boast strong symbolism of love, loyalty, and passion - all of these aspects are needed for a strong, working relationship, but how did flowers become synonymous with Valentine’s Day? Gifting your love interest or lover a bouquet of flowers dates back to the 19th century, where Victorians would send a message to their love interest, along with an arrangement of red roses - this was known as floriography. However, the use of red roses as a romantic proclamation has also been linked to areas in Eastern Asia, 5,000 years ago.

Flower Bouquets to give on Valentine’s Day

A single red rose

Single Rose Flower 

Simple and elegant, sending a long-stemmed red rose with bear grass and an aspidistra leaf to your partner’s place of work or home is the ultimate symbol of love. Our single rose also comes with a luxury box of Maison Fougère chocolates - the perfect treat for the love of your life.

You could even choose to get a glass case to store it in as a reference to the enchanted rose in Beauty and The Beast.  A singular rose represents beauty, everlasting love and passion - the perfect message.  Is there anything as romantic as a singular rose? Order yours here.


24 Pink Roses


24 Pink Rose Hand-tied 

If you’re looking to sweep your partner off their feet, then this stunning bouquet of 24 pastel pink roses will do the trick! Two dozen roses represent 24 hours in the day, and each rose will represent every hour you love your significant other. Alongside this, two dozen roses will make a much bigger impact on your partner, and give a deeper meaning of your love.

Our stunning bouquet of 24 flowers feature Pink Roses and Pastel Pink Roses surrounded by sala and gypsophila. The arrangement is hand tied and finished with a ribbon. Classic, indulgent and brilliant. Have a look here.



Deluxe Vera Wang Bouquet

Vera Wang Flowers 


Turn heads and make the ultimate statement this Valentine’s Day with this incredible Deluxe Vera Wang Sheer Opulence bouquet of flowers. Boasting warm and vibrant colours, the love of your life will be blown away by this magnificent Valentine’s Day bouquet.

Boasting Grand Prix red roses, Abeba orange roses, red Asiatic lilies and burgundy leucadendron all tied with salal, this enviable gift is sure to make Valentine’s Day a memorable one. Have a look here.  

Alternate Valentine’s Day Bouquets that aren’t flowers

If you’re looking for another Valentine’s Day present to give to your partner along with a Valentine’s Bouquet, or you want something a little different, then check out these amazing alternative arrangements. (We’d like to thank Pinterest!)

This incredible Cupcake Bouquet

Cake Bouquet 

If you want to send a flower-themed gift to your partner, but they’re allergic to flowers (hayfever is the worst) then this mouthwatering cupcake bouquet is a great idea!

Source: pinterest

This Chicken Nugget Bouquet

Chicken nugget bouquet 

A selection of gourmet chicken breast pieces, smothered in breadcrumbs and fried to create a crisp, delicious coating and then placed onto wooden prongs, finished with a red ribbon. Perfection.


Source: pinterest

Chocolate Bouquet

 Chocolate Bouquet

If your partner has a sweet tooth, then this chocolate bouquet is perfect! Simply get some of your partner’s favourite chocolate, a hot glue gun, some ribbon, a polystyrene ball, a thick rod and a bucket, and go nuts!  

Source: pinterest 

Order your Valentine’s Day Flowers in Birmingham and across the UK

Urban Design Flowers are a Birmingham based florist who are passionate about delivering the perfect flowers to your loved ones and friends. Whether you’re looking for wedding flowers, Mother’s Day flowers or flowers to show your romantic side, we’ve got you covered. Order online to get your flowers delivered in Birmingham and across the UK, or collect your flowers from our store in Solihull. Get in touch with one of our experts today.  


Urban Design Flowers also offer a flower subscription service for those who want a constantly refreshed supply of our amazing flowers.