Everything you need to know about Valentines Day

Valentine’s Day is a tradition celebrated in numerous countries around the world.

Different nations celebrate the holiday in different ways. For instance, in Japan and South Korea, it’s a tradition for women to give gifts to men they like. 

In Slovenia, the day is a celebration of St. Valentine, one of the patron saints of spring. That makes it a prime day for working in the fields. The tradition of a day of romance is celebrated in the country a month later on St. Gregory’s Day.

In the UK, Valentine’s Day dates back to the Victorian Era, when anonymous Valentine greetings were first sent by men and women alike to their romantic interests. The UK was also the first country to start the tradition of giving roses to the person you love on Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day is always celebrated on 14th February. In 2021, the day falls on a Sunday, making it perfect for planning a day of romance and a special dinner out.

Valentine’s is coming soon.

If you have someone you’re hoping to celebrate with this year, keep reading. We’re bringing you the history of Valentine’s Day, the story about why we celebrate, and some ideas to inspire your day and help you find celebrations of Valentine’s near me.

A couple at Siamais in Birmingham cheesing

History of Valentine’s Day

It’s widely believed that the celebration that we know as Valentine’s Day today has its roots in an entirely different celebration.

Called Lupercalia, this was a celebration of pagan fertility that Romans first practised. They enjoyed a 3-day celebration beginning on February 13 and ending on the 15th.

While records on the event are scarce, it is believed that the festival involved naked running and dancing in the streets, as well as spanking women’s rear-ends with leather whips in an effort to improve their fertility.

It would take hundreds of years for the celebration to begin its shift towards romance and away from fertility.

Where Valentine’s Day Started

Like many holidays that we celebrate today, Valentine’s Day had its roots in an ancient celebration that was later adapted when Christianity began its rise.

Early Christians would later take on the celebration of Lupercalia and give it their own touch.

But it was still a far cry from a celebration of love; instead, it celebrated the death of Christian martyrs around that date, all of whom were named Valentine.

In 496 AD, Pope Gelasius officially made 14th February St. Valentines Day, and it became a day of feasting. 

St. Valentine’s Day Shifts Towards the Holiday We Know Today

 

It would take hundreds of years for the holiday to begin to shift towards romance. In 1382, the poet Geoffrey Chaucer wrote a poem in celebration of the engagement of King Richard II to Anne of Bohemia, which occurred on St. Valentine’s Day.

In his poem, Parlement of Foules, he said, “For this was on St. Valentine’s Day when every bird cometh to choose his mate.”

A Frenchman by the name of Charles, the Duke of Orleans, is credited with sending the first love note. He did so in 1415 while he was stuck in a prison cell in the Tower of London. In his note, he referred to his wife as “my very sweet Valentine.”

 

By 1601, the tradition of calling a loved one your Valentine and sending love notes had officially begun.

In most cases, these love notes were passed by hand. But when the Penny Post was added to the Royal Mail Service in 1840, sending letters became affordable for the masses. This made it possible to begin sending anonymous St. Valentine’s Day cards.

Around the same time, printers across the UK began mass-producing so-called “mechanical valentines.” These were a lot like the boxed cards sold in every store around the holiday today.

 

infographic showing the change in the meaning of Valentines day

What is the Real Meaning of Valentine’s?

 

If you believe this ill-fated love story, then you also believe that the real meaning of Valentine’s Day goes beyond sending cards and buying chocolates.

Instead, it’s a day to celebrate your everlasting love for a significant other or spouse. It’s a chance to show that you are committed to them.

In a way, when you choose to give Valentine’s gifts, you’re saying that you would die for you would take your love for him or her to the grave with you, just as Valentine the priest did when he chose love above all else.

Why Valentine’s Day is Important?

 

In today’s busy world, our relationships are increasingly pushed to the side behind the demands of work, taking care of kids, going to school, and more.

Despite this, the divorce rate in the UK and is the lowest that it’s been in more than 40 years. However, more than 40 per cent of marriages in England and Wales end in divorce.

Whether you and your loved one have already tied the knot or are just thinking about walking down the aisle, keeping the spark alive and reminding one another that you care is always important.

If you’re wondering why you should celebrate Valentine’s Day, this is a great reason. Don’t let the holiday pass without reminding that special someone that you care.

Best Way to Celebrate Valentine’s

If you have a loved one you want to celebrate this holiday, you have some decisions to make. Whether you choose to search for Valentine’s events near me or plan a special evening out with your favourite person, choosing how you’ll celebrate ahead of time is important.

How Valentine’s Day is Celebrated Around the World

 

If you’re looking for inspiration on ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, check out these traditions practised around the world.

 

  • In Denmark, rather than giving roses, friends and sweethearts alike exchange snowdrops, which are native white flowers that are pressed flat to preserve them.
  • Head north to Wales, and you’ll find couples giving each other love spoons. These wooden spoons are adorned with patterns and symbols, each with its own meanings. Today, these spoons are also exchanged for births, weddings, and anniversaries.
  • In the Philippines, mass wedding ceremonies often take place on 14 February, as the day has become incredibly popular for exchanging vows.
  • If you’ve ever visited Italy, you know that Italians are serious about their food. So it should come as no surprise that the most popular way to celebrate this holiday is with a romantic dinner out.

 

How Valentine’s Day is Celebrated in the UK

 

In England, young women used to place bay leaves on their pillows before they went to bed on St. Valentine’s Day. They believed that doing so would cause them to dream of their future husbands.

Today, Valentine’s Day traditions are more about doing things with your significant other.

From a special dinner out at a romantic, intimate location to a day-date somewhere special, couples celebrate the holiday in a variety of ways.

Of course, gifts are also a popular tradition. Chocolates, cards, and bouquets, particularly roses, are all popular Valentine’s Day gifts.

What Should I Do for Valentine’s Day 2021?

If you’re looking for Valentine’s events near me or other ideas for celebrating the holiday this year, we’re here to help. These are a few ideas to help inspire your celebration.

What City is the Most Popular for Valentine’s Day Destinations?

While looking for Valentine’s near me in 2021 is a great way to squeeze in a date, you can also plan a fun day trip or weekend getaway to extend the celebration.

Birmingham and Bristol are two great destinations to celebrate in. With plenty of romantic places for a stroll and beautiful boutique hotels for turning your date into an overnight, either location is a good choice this holiday.

Birmingham

Birmingham has no shortage of romantic destinations and activities for couples young and old to enjoy together.

If you love to give sweets for Valentine’s Day, take the tradition one step further with a visit to Cadbury World. You can take a tour of the factory, sample chocolates, and purchase some to take home.

When the weather is mild, or for those who don’t mind bundling up, a stroll through the picturesque Birmingham Botanical Gardens and Glasshouses is another great choice. While the outdoor plants may be a bit brown this time of year, the glasshouse ensures that you still get a magical taste of spring and summer even on a gloomy day.

Another great option for those unafraid of a chilly day is a romantic ride on one of Birmingham’s famous canals.

Finish your day with a delicious, intimate meal at Siamais. Located in Gas Street Basin, which is also home to a number of galleries, you can make an entire day of your visit with some shopping and art.

Bristol

Bristol is another great destination for a romantic day trip or weekend getaway.

Harborside is a great spot to take in the sunset, have an intimate conversation on one of the benches, or enjoy some shopping and dining. Leigh Woods is another great outdoor destination, with views of the Clifton Suspension Bridge and plenty of quiet walkways.

If you’re planning an overnight, there is no shortage of boutique hotels that are perfect for inspiring some romance.

Mercure Bristol Grand Hotel is a beautiful, historic hotel located on Broad Street, in the heart of the city. The Bristol Hotel is another great choice, with spacious, luxurious rooms overlooking Harborside.

If you want to get away from the city, head to Berwick Lodge in the South West. Nestled among rolling fields and forests, this is the perfect place to relax and get away from the hustle and bustle of city life.

For an extra special touch to your Valentine’s Day, you can even schedule a hot air balloon ride over the city.

What’s the Best Way to Celebrate on a Budget?

 

Being on a tight budget doesn’t have to mean missing out on Valentine’s Day.

There are plenty of ways to celebrate the day without spending a lot of money.

A stroll through a local park is one great activity that won’t cost you a penny. This is a great chance to get talking and disconnect from your digital devices for a while.

You can also plan a movie night at home. Pick a romantic comedy or your favourite film, pop some popcorn, and maybe open a bottle of wine. This intimate date is great for relationships at any stage.

If you really want to show your loved one how much you care, cook them a special dinner at home. You can light some candles, put on some soft music, and put your phones away to create a special setting and a night neither of you will soon forget.

To inspire you to get cooking this Valentine’s Day, check out this recipe straight from Siamais’ kitchen. We’re sharing with you our Prawn Pad Thai served with Black Pepper Steak followed by our Thai Mango Sticky Rice for dessert.

Prawn Pad Thai

Ingredients:

200 g padthai noodle

200 g peeled prawn

100 g fried dice tofu

50 g chopped preserved sweet radish

50 g dried shrimp

2 eggs

50 g chives, cut in to 1 inch size

100 g beansprout

2 tbs crushed peanuts

 

Seasoning:

2 tbs sugar

1/2 tbs salt

4 tbs tamarind sauce

 

Recipe:

  1. Prep the noodles by soaking them in water for at least 1 hour
  2. Preheat the Wok, adding a splash of vegetable oil
  3. Fry the prawns until cooked
  4. Crack your eggs into the same Wok, stirring through
  5. Add the noodles and continue to stir-fry until the noodles are soft
  6. Add the tofu, sweet radish, dried shrimps, beansprout, chive, sugar and tamarind sauce, mixing it well until its dry.

Chargrill lamb with black pepper sauce

Ingredients:

2 pieces of lamb steak

½ tsp Crushed black pepper

Salt

1 tbs vegetable oil

1 tsp dark soy sauce

1 tbs oyster sauce

2 tbs light soy sauce

1 tbs sugar

50 g Chopped onion

50 g Chopped spring onion

1 clove chopped Peeled garlic

1 tbs potato starch

 

Recipe:

  1. Coat the steak with salt and pepper and veg oil and marinate it for half an hour.
  2. Whilst marinating, make the pepper sauce by adding a little of veg oil into the pan with medium heat
  3. Cut up the garlic and onion and fry them in the oil.
  4. Add in the black pepper and continue to stir
  5. Add approximately 5-6 tablespoons of water to the pan, stirring it around until it starts to boil.
  6. Finally add oyster sauce, soy sauce and sugar, then turn the heat to low
  7. Separately, mix 2 tbs of water with 1 tbs potato starch. Once done, slowly pour into the sauce and keep stirring until it thickens. Then turn off the heat.
  8. Grill the steak for 3-8 min on each side, depending on how well you want your steak done.

     

     

Thai mango and sticky rice

Ingredients:

300 g sticky rice

250 coconut milk

3 tbs granulated sugar

1/4 tsp salt

2 ripe mango

2-4 coconut cream

1 tbs toasted sesame seeds

Recipe:

  1. Soak the sticky rice in cold water for at least 2 hour or ideally overnight.
  2. Drain and rinse thoroughly
  3. Boil water in a steamer
  4. Line the steamer pan (placed above the pan with water in) with a double thickness muslin cloth, placing the rice on top.
  5. Then steam the rice for half an hour with medium heat. Once done, place the rice on the side.
  6. Combine the coconut milk and sugar in a small pan with slow heat, stirring gently without letting the mixture boil. Leave to the side.
  7. Add in the salt, then pour over the rice mix it well gently
  8. Peel the mango and cut off the two parts of the mango either side of the stone. Slice each part in to thin lengthways slices.
  9. To serve put the rice on to the dish and place the mango on the side. Pour the coconut cream over the rice and sprinkle with sesame seeds
Siamais birdcage booth
Couple with drinks at Siamais in Birmingham

Choosing Where to Go for Valentine’s Day

 

Now that you know a bit about the history of Valentine’s Day, how it’s celebrated, and some ideas for planning your own special day, it’s time to decide how you’ll be spending the holiday.

If you’re still wondering, “where should I go for Valentine’s Day in the UK,” let us help make that the easiest decision on this romantic holiday.

It’s never too early to start planning your Valentine’s Day. Whether you’re looking for Valentine’s specials near me or a unique restaurant destination as a part of a weekend getaway, we can help.

Join our Clubhouse today to get the latest news about dining events and more at Siamais. You can also book your next visit to guarantee a table on popular days like Valentine’s.