The Origins and Gifting Traditions of Valentine’s Day

Ahh, Valentine’s Day. The annual event where we shower the one (or ones) we love with warm words, thoughtful gifts, and a carefully picked floral a...
The Origins and Gifting Traditions of Valentine’s Day

Ahh, Valentine’s Day. The annual event where we shower the one (or ones) we love with warm words, thoughtful gifts, and a carefully picked floral arrangement. This day of love and romance has been celebrated for as long as most people alive can remember, however only a small fraction of people actually know where this tradition originated from.

So how did Valentine’s come to be?

Valentine’s day originated from the pagan festival of Lupercalia in ancient Rome. Lupercalia was held in mid-February, celebrating fertility and the coming of spring. During the festivities on this special day, there would be bountiful feasts, sacrifices and women would be paired with men via lottery. Towards the end of the 5th century when Catholicism had well and truly become the main religion in Rome, Pope Gelasius I replaced Lupercalia with St. Valentine’s Day.

The exact saint that Valentine’s day was named after remains unclear, as a few catholic martyrs had shared the name Valentine. The most popular legend contends that Valentine was a priest during the 3rd century who would secretly perform marriages for young lovers. This was in defiance to Emperor Claudius II’s cruel decree to outlaw marriage for young men, as he believed that they would be better soldiers if they were single. 

Another legend surrounding the true namesake of Valentine’s Day, was that of an imprisoned priest named Valentine who penned the first ‘valentine’ greeting after he fell in love with the jailor’s young daughter. Before he was sentenced to death, it is said that he wrote her a letter that concluded with ‘From your Valentine’, as a final declaration of his love. This expression of affection persists to this day.

Although the true identity of the saint that Valentine’s Day was named after remains a mystery, the legends share the common theme of romance and unwavering love.

Valentine’s Day Gifting Traditions

Red Roses

One of the most enduring traditions of Valentine’s Day is the gifting of a beautiful arrangement of red roses. Whether it be a single stem, a grandiose bouquet or scattering of petals, red roses are often the go-to due to their strong associations with love, passion, and beauty. This meaning was bestowed upon the rose, due to its affiliation with Aphrodite, the goddess of love and fertility. This link was made because, according to Greek mythology, rose bushes emerged from the ground when she wept over the blood of her lover, Adonis.

The symbolism of roses is so powerful that just last year over 10.5 million roses were imported into Australia during the lead up to February the 14th.

With this level of demand, it is no surprise that Valentine’s Day has persistently been one of the busiest times of year for Sydney florists. Sydney florists are particularly frantic around Valentine’s Day, as customers begin to pour into stores, as well as online, to place their orders and ensure they make it to their designated recipient on time. 

Some of the most popular arrangement styles sold by Sydney florists, include:
- Single, long-stemmed red roses, beautifully wrapped or in a vase
- Large, lush arrangements in a bouquet or vase
- Abundant bouquets in pastel tones
- Mixed seasonal floral arrangements

Although most customers tend to stick to this traditional Valentine’s Day bloom, florists around Sydney are experimenting with other ways to say ‘I love you’, and have diversified their Valentine’s Day offerings.

One of the most prominent trends is the growing popularity of native Australian flowers. More and more Sydney florists are embracing locally grown, native Australian flowers and making them the star of their Valentine’s Day arrangements. The use of native Australian flowers has exploded, as their unconventional beauty and unique shapes, colours, and textures, make a bold and unforgettable statement.

Sydney florists are also highlighting the beauty of alternative blooms in their Valentine’s arrangements. Florists are increasingly stepping away from the norm of red roses and adding alternative blooms to their bouquets and arrangements. This creates a more personal touch that effectively communicates how intimately you know your person. Some flowers that are growing in popularity for Valentine’s Day include, hydrangea, peonies, dahlias, tulips, orchids, and even tropicals!


Another Valentine’s Day gifting tradition that has withstood the test of time is writing a heartfelt card for that special someone. Brief musings of adoration or lengthy proclamations of love, penning a letter on Valentine’s Day has persisted for centuries, as it is a sweet way to express your innermost feelings.

Early Valentine’s Day cards would be entirely handmade, decorated with symbols of love, and contain poetic verses. Even though you can still make one completely from scratch today, there are more options available for those who may be less creatively inclined or time-poor with pre-made and electronic cards.

Let us help you give your loved one a Valentine’s Day gift they’ll cherish! POHO’s talented team of florists will work closely with you to create a bespoke arrangement that will speak volumes and make you the ultimate romantic. Click here to contact us today!

Search our site

Shopping Cart

Your cart is currently empty.