The first Valentine’s Day was in the year 496, so marking the day itself is a very old tradition. It’s thought to have originated from a Roman festival, called Lupercalia in the middle of February – officially marking the start of springtime.
In ancient Rome, there were at least three Christian martyrs were named Valentine, and one of the Valentines, a Christian bishop, was believed to have been executed on February 14 because he defied the Emperor Claudius II by secretly performing marriages ceremonies for Roman soldiers. Claudius II had prevented soldiers from marrying because he thought they should only love Rome. Legends about St Valentine as a heroic and romantic figure first emerged during the Middle Ages in England and France.
Today we mark the day by handing out red roses, a flower long symbolising love and every year, Ralph James hand out 500 roses across our towns. With our third branch opening this March, it’s the first time we could be seen in Dorking and we loved meeting some of our new neighbours!