THERE are two schools of thought as to why we celebrate Valentine’s Day.
The first is that the Roman Emperor Claudius II banned marriages to get more soldiers to join his army but the good Saint Valentine defied him and performed marriages in secret.
Unfortunately, poor Valentine was found out, beaten to death with clubs and had his head cut off.
But before he died the saint had fallen in love with his jailer’s daughter and, on February 14, he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine.”
The other theory is that February 14 was an ancient holiday to honour Juno, queen of the Roman gods and goddesses.
On that day, the names of Roman girls were written on slips of paper and put into jars, with boys pulling names out to decide who would be their partner for the duration of the Feast of Lupercalia.
Either way, Valentine’s Day has turned into the day we celebrate love in all its shapes and forms. And, of course, the traditional way to show affection for your loved one is flowers, chocolates or, if you’re very lucky, both.
Janine Allison of Stem’s Flower Market said they had already received heaps of orders ahead of Thursday.
And what’s the flower of choice for 2013?
“It’s always red roses,” Ms Allison said.
She said the Mair Street flower shop was also bracing for a rush on the actual day from last-minute love expressions.
“Sometimes we get girls buying for boys but the majority of our customers are boys buying for girls.”
A Darrell Lea Ballarat spokesperson said they were already being inundated with requests for soft toys and chocolate.
“The heart chocolates are popular, along with the chocolate roses,” the spokesperson said.
“We’re usually really busy the day before and the day of Valentine’s Day.
“It seems to be getting bigger every year.”