The history of Valentine's Day Flower Delivery

Valentine's Day flower deliveries

For romantics everywhere, Valentine’s Day – 14th February – is the time of the year to celebrate their spouses, partners and sweethearts. Hundreds of years of traditions and customs have made it into the holiday that we observe today, with flower sending – particularly red roses – at the heart of celebrations.

The history of Valentine’s Day

Varying stories point to a number of different origins for Valentine's Day, but perhaps the most popular belief is that Valentine`s Day originated during the third century in Rome, after Emperor Claudius II banned marriage because he thought married men were bad soldiers. A young priest named Valentine was furious with this injustice and defied Claudius by continuing to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. Claudius eventually discovered Valentine’s actions and sentenced him to death. During his time in prison, he fell in love with the jailer's daughter and when he was taken to be killed on 14th February, 270 AD, he sent her a love letter signed "from your Valentine".

The date was key at the time – the Romans had a festival called Lupercalia in the middle of February – officially the start of their springtime. As part of this celebration, boys drew names of girls from a box. They'd be boyfriend and girlfriend during the festival and sometimes they'd get married. Later on, the church wanted to turn this festival into a Christian celebration and decided to use it to remember Valentine too.

Gradually, St Valentine's name started to be used by people to express their feelings to those they loved and some 200-plus years after Valentine’s death, Pope Gelasius declared the date as a day to honour Valentine, who by that time had become a saint.

The history of Valentine’s Day flower delivery

Of course, flowers are synonymous with Valentine’s Day – with red roses the most popular valentine's Day flowers delivered for Direct2florist’s customers. But just why do we send red roses for this romantic of days?

While some will argue that this tradition started in Victorian times, the history that we like points to your go-to long-stemmed flowers dating back to a former King of Sweden. The story goes that the tradition of giving Valentine’s Day flowers dates to the late 17th century, during the reign of King Charles II of Sweden. During a trip to Persia, King Charles II was exposed to a new art—the language of flowers. This expressionist art focused on the ability to communicate using flowers without uttering any words at all. The Swedish monarch took the tradition back to Europe, where it spread widely, with lists of flowers and their meanings widely distributed.

The red rose, as you may have guessed, translated to deep love, and took on this meaning because of its affiliation with Aphrodite, the goddess of love. In Greek mythology, it is said that rose bushes grew from the ground through Aphrodite’s tears and the blood of her lover, Adonis. The Romans, who turned Aphrodite into their goddess Venus, kept the rose as her symbol of love and beauty.

As a result, when Valentine’s Day became the mainstream holiday we know today, the rose was an obvious choice for an extremely fitting gift – a tradition that shows no sign of slowing down today as Valentine’s Day flowers remain just as popular as ever.

Six alternative Valentine’s Day flowers

As we explore in our blog post, while there’s no escaping the fact red roses are the undisputed star of Valentine’s Day, they’re not the only choice when it comes to Valentine’s Day flower delivery. For those looking to send something different this 14th February, check out Direct2florist’s run down of six alternative, yet equally romantic, flowers here.

Half a dozen Valentine's Day Facts

  • King Henry VII of England officially declared the St. Valentine's Day a holiday in 1537
  • Red roses were thought to be the favourite flower of Venus, the Goddess of Love
  • Approximately 110 million roses (typically red) are sold & delivered in a three-day period around Valentine’s Day
  • In the late 1800s, Richard Cadbury introduced the first box of chocolates
  • 73% of people who buy Valentine's Day flowers are men and 27% are women
  • France's Duke of Orléans sent the first known Valentine's card to his wife in 1415