Part 1 - The Very First Valentine's Day

Updated: Feb 4

There's a lot of love in the air! And what better way to begin our Valentine's Day series than by delving into its history? Valentine's Day, believe it or not, has a long and interesting history. In fact, did you know that the first Valentine's Day was celebrated in...

You guessed correctly if you said Rome!

Lupercalia, a Roman festival, was celebrated on February 15th back then. This festival honored Faunus, the agricultural god, and also served as a fertility rite. Young men would gather and parade through the streets wearing strips of animal skin, beating any women they came across in the hopes of making them fertile. What a unique way to begin Valentine's Day!

Can you imagine something similar happening today as part of the celebrations on Bahnhofstrasse or Sechseläutenplatz?

As with many other things, the Christian era supplanted the pagan one, and so February 14 became a feast day in honor of St. Valentine, a Catholic bishop who was martyred for the sake of love (more on that later). The first link between February 14 and romantic love was made around 1382, when Geoffrey Chaucer mentioned it in his poem Parlement of Foules, which is about birds choosing mates. He was most likely among the first to associate romance with this date!

In the Middle Ages, Valentine's Day was celebrated on February 14th.

Later, in the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from urns and wore them on their clothing from Lupercalia until the following year's feast. The modern custom of exchanging Valentine's Day cards stems from this: People had to send cards to everyone because they didn't know who their own "Valentine" was, and they didn't want to miss out on potential love partners!

But there's another interesting Valentine's Day fact.

Esther Howland, a Massachusetts woman, created the first mass-produced Valentine's Day card in 1840. And she did it with the help of her father, who worked in a flower shop and assisted her with flower deliveries - who knows, but this is most likely the origin of the modern flower delivery trend!

And what about today?

There are many ways to celebrate Valentine's Day in Switzerland, including sending flowers or simply enjoying nature together on a romantic walk through Zurich or by the lake. Spending time together and flowers that express your feelings are two things that every Valentine will undoubtedly understand.

In terms of flowers, we can easily assist you, and perhaps a bouquet from my team will be the catalyst for exactly the quality time with your love that is required on this day and especially in these times.

And if you think - I'm not feeling the love this Valentine's Day. It's also not a big deal.

And if you don't feel like Valentine's Day this year, or if you don't like the holiday at all, know that you are not alone.

There is also solace in Geoffrey Chaucer's poem, which I mentioned. After failing to find a mate and deciding to postpone the decision until next year, the birds sing a song.

There is a right time for everything in life, and there is a right flower for every occasion. And I hope you'll join me again tomorrow for a quick look back at Valentine's Day.

Your Christian Felix

PS: Do you have any other suggestions for making this day memorable? Please let us know in the comments section below.