Just a little embarrassed to admit this, but I ABSOLUTELY love Valentine’s Day. I particularly love discovering everyone’s individual interpretation of what it means to be romantic. For some it’s a favourite meal for two, for others a piece of poetry, for others something way more glamorous – a weekend away or trip abroad.
And so as this year’s Valentine’s Day approaches, I started thinking:-
Who was St Valentine?
How did he become associated with this ancient rite?
The most popular legend suggests that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realising the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.
And whether or not this legend is true, St Valentine has since been portrayed as a sympathetic and very romantic figure championing the rights of those in love.
We are all familiar with the legacy he has left in the UK – the hearts, the chocolates, the roses, the other tokens of affection – but I got to wondering, how is this day celebrated around the world?
As many of you may be aware, I have a very special relationship with Italy. Many of Scarf Room’s collections are sourced in Italy and form part of our Made in Italy range. I also lived there as a young student when I was 19. So, how is Valentine’s Day or, as it is known in Italy, the Festa degli Innamorati celebrated?
Interestingly, when I lived in Italy, the whole event passed me by without event, which is odd given that it is a day I love so much. Now, I understand why! In Italy, it is only couples that celebrate this festival, whether they are officially engaged or not, married or not. No-one in Italy would ever dream of sending an anonymous card to someone they were interested in from afar but did not have a special relationship with. The gifts exchanged differ too. In Italy, often a beautiful silver or gold heart will be given to a loved one. Another tradition that is popular amongst young lovers in Italy is attaching lucchetti (padlocks) to bridges and railings and throwing away the key, thus symbolising that the couple will be together forever. Beautiful, no?
And so, as Valentine’s Day creeps closer, whether you subscribe to the whole hearts and flowers vibe or not, it is still an opportunity to show a loved one that you care. A simple token of affection may be all that is needed. If you are not sure what to buy, may I suggest a well-chosen scarf is a great place to begin and will always be appreciated.
To help you with your choice, we at Scarf Room have put together is a well-chosen edit of beautiful scarves for that special someone on Valentine’s Day. That special someone may even be you ………….
Ciao bellissime. A presto!