This year February 14th, St Valentine’s Day falls on a Sunday, opening the prospect of a whole weekend of love and laughter.
St Valentine’s Day on Sunday 14th February is one of three important dates in the social calendar that tumble upon each other in close succession; we also have Mother’s Day on Sunday 14th March and Easter on Sunday 4th April.
But, where did St Valentine’s Day come from? And, how do we celebrate it here in St Margarets?
There are varying opinions as to the origin of Valentine’s Day. It is thought that, indirectly the origin of this day that celebrates love is a long and bloody war campaign raged by Emperor Claudius II.
The Emperor was having great difficulty getting men to sign up for his war campaign, which he felt was because the men did not want to leave their wives and families. So, he cancelled all marriages and engagements.
St Valentine was a Roman priest in those days and he and another, St Marius, secretly married couples in love and for this defiance he was apprehended and martyred on February 14th, 269 AD. Legend says that St Valentine left a farewell note for the jailer’s daughter, who had become his friend, and signed it “From Your Valentine”. In 496 A.D. Pope Gelasius set aside February 14 to honour St Valentine.
Others say the root of St Valentine’s Day is a tradition, rather than a person. In ancient Rome, February 14th was a holiday to honour Juno. Juno was the Queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses. The Romans also knew her as the Goddess of women and marriage.
The following day, February 15th, began the Feast of Lupercalia. In those days the lives of young boys and girls were strictly separate. However, on the eve of the festival of Lupercalia the names of Roman girls were written on slips of paper and placed into jars and each young man would draw a girl’s name from the jar. The boy and girl would then be partners for the duration of the festival. Sometimes the pairing of the children lasted an entire year, and often, they would fall in love and would later marry.
Whatever the origin, February 14th became established as a day in which a couple celebrated their love; boys and girls would send a card declaring their interest or affection to someone they admired - whether it was their parents, friends, teachers or grandparents. Competitions ensued over how many cards each person got, and many happy hours were spent over guessing the identity of their secret admirer.
Other random St Valentine’s facts:
- There is a town called ‘Loveland’ in Colerado that does a roaring trade in postcards and postage on 14th February.
- The first commercial Valentines days cards were supposedly sent by a lady called Esther Howland in America. Commercial cards were introduced around the 1800s.
- Shirley Valentine was made at our very own Twickenham Film Studios. Formed in 1929, the studios are the most important post production studios in the UK.
- Love’s Labour Lost, often credited to Shakespeare has been also credited to Francis Bacon, and reportedly written here is sunny Twickenham.
- Mills and Boon, those peddlers of love stories to the masses, have recently developed a love for Rugby and all things Twickenham with stories featuring Twickenham Rugby Stadium.
St Valentine’s in St Margarets
How are we celebrating St Valentine’s Day in St Margarets?
Our local florist, Forgetmenot Flowers, is of course catering to the lovers in our area, with beautiful bouquets from £25 including delivery. If you prefer, they have also created arrangements in hearts, tea cups and vases which are very beautiful and which can also be delivered to the one you love for St Valentine’s. See their web page www.forgetmenotflowersdelivery.co.uk for pictures and details.
Alternatively, why restrict yourself to one day? Forgetmenot Flowers have noted that many people are choosing a ‘Friday Flowers’ delivery for the month of February or March instead of the traditional one off display of affection. Apparently the men and women of St Margarets like to show they care every week and not just on the 14th February!
To cater for this, Forgetmenot Flowers provide Gift Certificates for those who think that a flower is for all year around, not just St Valentine’s.
If it’s a traditional romantic meal you are looking for, then Brula (www.brula.co.uk) offer fresh, seasonal dining in a beautiful setting. If you prefer to dine at home, then their home dining service will bring Brula to you at home.
If you are looking for that special place to celebrate Valentines then look no further. This year we are celebrating Valentines over Saturday and Sunday. Choose from a specially created 3 course Valentines menu accompanied with a Valentines cocktail or from our new a la Carte menu. During the day on Sunday there is also a Valentines brunch for a seductive start to your day.
To make a booking contact George Muller on 020 8892 7166 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Crown Pub
If you are looking for an alternative to the traditional romantic night out, look no further than the Crown (www.thecrownintwickenham.co.uk) who has a rocking night planned with Roland Rock on Saturday 13th pm, and a romantic roast lunch on the big day itself.
You could also brave the elements and pack a romantic picnic and stroll off to enjoy the beautiful buildings around Twickenham and St Margarets, many an inspiration to love and beauty. Twickenham was the 18th century equivalent of Beverley Hills, popular with the foremost artisans. Henrietta Howard, mistress of George II, had Marble Hill House built for her and regularly entertained the greatest poets and wits of the day. Or you could visit Horace Walpole’s gothic fantasy at Strawberry Hill and Pope’s Grotto. A gentle stroll along the riverside reveals beautiful gardens and open spaces such as the York House garden sculptures and the baroque Octagon Room of Orleans House; enough to inspire any love lorn romantic.
– from Roisin Morris