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St Valentine’s Day

st valentineSaint Valentine himself

On Sunday the world will be celebrating St Valentine’s Day. Many men and women across the globe will be hoping for their special Valentine to arrive with a gift, as a token of their love. St Valentine’s Day is celebrated on the 14th February and in the Eastern Orthodox Churches on the 6th July. The day is in honour of a few saints named Valentinus.

Legend tells the story of one such saint, Saint Valentine of Rome, who married soldiers who were forbidden to do so, to their new brides. He was later imprisoned for this reason and while in jail he healed a jailer’s daughter whom he wrote a card too shortly before his execution. The card read “Your Valentine”. This tradition has carried down through the ages and every year lovers all over the world send Valentine’s Cards  to one another.

An interesting fact about Saint Valentine of Rome is that relics belonging to him made its way to Dublin and can be viewed in Whitefriar Street Church. His skull now lives in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin and is covered with flowers.

St Valentine’s Day is often associated with children and in some European countries “Saint Valentine’s Keys” are given to children so that epilepsy won’t befall them. An English, Norfolk,  legend tells of a man called Jack Valentine who used to leave sweets and presents for the children at the back of their houses. Some children feared him and some welcomed the gifts left for them so shortly after Christmas.

In some folk traditions Saint Valentine is known as the Patron Saint of Spring and St Valentine’s Day is considered a day to celebrate the arrival of spring and a day when flowers, plants and seeds start growing again after the winter is over.


St Valentine’s Day is also a day shops and stores will make more money than on any other day of the year. Every year shops make an effort to advertise and decorate their windows with hearts and cupids to attract customers and remind them of the tradition. It is the second biggest celebration of the year with – the first of course being  New Year’s Day. This year Americans will spend $19.7 billion on Valentine’s gifts – according to the National Retail Federation. Last year it was estimated that they spent a whopping $18.9 billion.

When it comes to whom will be spending more on whom, it has been proven that men spend double. Men usually earn higher salaries and it is believed that men should do the hunting and therefore do the shopping or else the ladies might come across as desperate.

Who celebrates Valentine’s Day? According to an article in an American Magazine ‘younger people, who are still trying to impress potential mates, participate more than older, more settled folks. Nearly two-thirds of those between 25-34 will celebrate the holiday, and 60% of those between 18-24. Less than half of those between 55-64 will celebrate, and only 44.7% of those 65 and older will be enjoying the day with a loved one for Valentine’s day’.

Five things you can do for your Valentine this year in Dublin City?

Here are some ideas…

You can go for a romantic dinner on a boat.

You can propose marriage to the love of your life on the Ha’penny Bridge (don’t forget to tie the ring to the padlock you secure just before you get there, that way you can also leave a memory there).
You can make a bonfire on the beach and have some caviar and champagne on the sandy shore (don’t forget a blanket and some midgie repellent).

You can dress up, pretend you are rich and stay over in a hotel for the night.

You can fight it out over Molly Malone and have a candlelit picnic with mussels and cockles at her feet (you might need the permission of the Gardai for this one).

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