THE HISTORY OF VALENTINE'S DAY

Love is in the air! Dating back to the 4th century, Valentine's Day is a holiday that has withstood the test of time. Originally known as a fertility festival in Ancient Rome called Lupercalia, the modern St. Valentine's Day is a Christian feast day held in honour of the martyr, Valentine of Rome, and has been the day to celebrate all things love and romance for centuries. 

But how did the tradition come about that meant on this one day each year we shower the object our affection with flowers, chocolates, jewellery and notes expressing our undying love?

In the couple of centuries after Valentine's Day was brought into the public consciousness by William Shakespeare's Hamlet in the 1600s, the writing of love letters became more and more popular, particularly in England. The anonymous notes were printed in newspapers and eventually delivered by post. The increasing popularity of this practice led to the first Valentine's Day cards being mass-produced in the early 19th century.

The US joined the English in the making and distributing of Valentine's Day cards in the late 1800s. But it wasn't until 1913, when a greeting card company famously declared Valentine's Day a 'Hallmark holiday’, that it really took off across the world.

Interestingly, it still took a number of decades to see the gift-giving tradition of the day really take hold, due to the World Wars and widespread economic downturn. But finally in the 1980s, the decade of excess, flowers, chocolate and jewellery joined the card. The diamond industry soon followed, by promoting Valentine's as the ultimate day to truly express your love, and to do that through giving the gift of a precious stone. 

And, to this day, that tradition continues strong. As sales of printed cards fall, it is jewellery that stands out from the other popular gifts due to its longevity. Flowers unfortunately die and chocolates don't last long past dessert, but jewellery has the ability to be both sentimental and romantic. It is also a keepsake, a personal item that can be passed on through generations, with memories and emotions attached for decades – and possibly centuries – to come.

A SINGLE GIRL'S GUIDE TO VALENTINE'S DAY

For single ladies, Valentine’s Day can unfortunately serve as a reminder that they’re without that special someone. With candlelit dinners and Valentine’s cards flowing freely, punctuated with thoughts of love and sentiment, it can seem as though everyone who’s anyone has someone on Valentine’s Day. However, cupid’s shower of arrows doesn’t have to be a celebration reserved just for couples.

On a day coloured with all of a girl’s favourite things – roses, jewels and chocolates – nothing is out of reach for a single girl looking to embrace Valentine’s Day.

The not-so-lonely heart’s club
Valentine’s Day is the one day of the year when single ladies can grant themself some guilt-fee self-indulgence. Do something just for you, such as pampering yourself at an all-day spa. Start at the sauna to release any built-up tension from work, friends, finances… the usual! Follow this with an antioxidant-lifting facial to truly indulge your skin and senses. You will leave feeling refreshed and revitalised, with glowing skin to match your renewed outlook.

Spend some time with yourself
Devote time to a neglected hobby. Leading an active life – scheduling around work, family and friends – means it’s easy for time to escape us. Before you know it, it’s been weeks or months since you’ve spent some alone time doing the things you love. Why not use Valentine’s Day – a day when loved up couples and friends are preoccupied – to enjoy some me-time? Whether it’s cooking, attending your favourite yoga class or taking the time to see a show, there is no greater reward than enjoying your own company.
There’s no harm in spoiling yourself rotten on Valentine’s Day either. Reward yourself with a little something sparkling like a charm bracelet, elegant necklace or even some freshwater pearl studs, to remind yourself that even single girls deservegorgeous gifts.

What are friends for?
Not keen on spending Valentine’s Day alone? Gather a few of your likewise single girlfriends and make a day out of the celebration. Cook together, book in a wine-tasting course or head to your favourite little bar for a well-deserved three-course meal, without skimping on all your favourites of course. Remember that Valentine’s Day is about more than expressing your love for members of the opposite sex – your friends deserve some love too!
Regardless of whether you’re single or in a relationship, Valentine’s Day is an excuse to share a day of love – whether with yourself or that special someone. It’s an opportunity to adjust your mindset and focus on what you have, instead of what you don’t.