Valentine’s day, which everyone in the modern world is familiar with, whether you like it or not, is celebrated on February 14th. Galentine’s Day, the lesser known unofficial holiday celebrating female friendships, is held the day before on February 13th.

But, do you know where these celebrations came from?

Well, how the day came about is a little vague in areas, but it is believed to have originated in Ancient Rome.

Saint Valentine’s Day was a Christian feast day, also known as The Feast of Saint Valentine. The feast honoured Saint Valentine, a 3rd-century Roman saint, who was martyred on February 14th, 269 AD. He was known as the patron saint of couples for his defence of Christian marriage.

St Valentine’s skull, showcased at a Santa Maria in Cosmedin, a Catholic Church in Rome, Italy.

However, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred February 14th! So it is unconfirmed who, if just one, the day was originally named after.

The Triumph of Saint Valentine painted by Valentin Metzinger, early 18th century.

Some historians believe Valentine’s Day is an offshoot of Lupercalia, an ancient pagan festival held on February 15th in Rome each year. Lupercalia was a brutal and bloody celebration, where animals were sacrificed to ward off evil spirits and infertility. The fete also included a matchmaking lottery where men selected a woman’s name from a jar and the two would be coupled together for the duration of the festival!

Over time the holiday grew and thanks to Geoffrey Chaucer and William Shakespeare romanticising the event in their works, it gained popularity throughout Britain. During the middle ages people started giving handmade cards to express their love on the day.

Geoffrey Chaucer, circa. 1343–1400

Geoffrey Chaucer was an English poet who wrote the unfinished work, ‘The Canterbury Tales’, considered one of the greatest poetic works in English. He was the first poet to be buried in Westminster Abbey’s Poet’s Corner.

William Shakespeare, circa. 1564–1616

William Shakespeare was an English poet and playwright, considered the greatest dramatist of all time. He married Anne Hathaway in 1582 and they had three children, Susanna and twins Hamnet and Judith. He wrote 37 plays, many of which are still performed today.

The industrial revolution in America saw the start of factory-made cards. In 1913 Hallmark Cards began mass producing Valentine’s Day cards, and the day has been a big deal ever since!

Galentine’s day is an unofficial holiday celebrated the day before Valentine’s Day on February 13th. The holiday was first mentioned in 2010 on American TV series, Parks and Recreation.

“What’s Galentine’s Day? Oh, it’s only the best day of the year. Every February 13th, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style. Ladies celebrating ladies. It’s like Lilith Fair, minus the angst. Plus frittatas.”
— Galentine’s Day, Parks and Recreation, 2010

Galentine’s Day, a blend of ‘Valentine’ and ‘gal’ is a celebration of female friendships, and acts as the perfect antidote to Valentine’s Day, which many people feel excluded from if they’re not romantically involved with anyone. 

You can celebrate Galentine’s Day with your best friend, group of girlfriends or any friends whose friendship you value. Go for cocktails, plan a sleepover, take a trip to the spa or surprise them with a gift.

If you’re celebrating Valentine’s with your partner or Galentine’s with your best girls, we have some gorgeous gifts and special offers to help you save your pennies while you share the love this year.

These bundles include gifts from THREE of our favourite Cornish makers. Choose between a pretty abstract face or boobies Sass & Belle vase, perfect for displaying single flower stems, dried florals or diffuser sticks. Next, choose either a pink or neutral bunch of Hazel & Twine’s mini dried bouquets. The bundle then includes a pair of LUV Silver’s mini sterling silver heart studs, and a card from Newlyn based artist, Gill Wild.

Sass & Belle’s iconic duo; Libby & Ross are the cutest couple to share a breakfast egg date with. Hand painted, these colourful characters each have their own vibrant personality as part of Sass & Belle’s ‘My Kind of People’ range.

Libby & Ross egg cups | £10 for set of two

Mini boobies planter £4.50

These pretty pink and gold boobies featured on small and large planters are a sweet but sexy gift. Perfect for girlfriends or any boobie appreciating partner!

Large boobies planter £10

Sass & Belle’s beautifully colourful Frida Kahlo collection make gorgeous gifts at any time of year, but we think she’s perfect for Galentine’s Day!

Frida Kahlo was a self-taught Mexican artist who is well known for her love of bright colours and her signature unibrow that was proudly depicted in her self-portraits. She is considered one of the best Mexican artists of all time, and is still widely celebrated by many marginalised groups and political movements today. Her work is popular with feminists, the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities, Latino women and Mexican Americans.

Our Libby and Bradley vases are great planters for trailing houseplants or vases for cut flowers. We often associate buying flowers for female friends and partners but don’t forget boys deserve flowers too!

We’re also running a special offer on our mini planters from Sass & Belle’s ‘My Kind of People’ range. Usually sold at £6.50 each, you can choose any two for £10! Who will you be setting up on a date?

We have a growing range of Cornish greeting cards by Newlyn based artist, Gill Wild. Her Valentine’s cards come in traditional Cornish colours using Cornish words or phrases.