With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, the time to make romantic plans with your significant other is now! The team at Auckland’s Hotel Grand Windsor love Valentine’s Day, and as one of the most-awarded New Zealand Hotels, the Hotel Grand Windsor’s luxurious dining room is a perfect setting for a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner.
Read on to find out why we love this romantic event so much, or scroll to the bottom for more details.
Where does Valentine’s Day come from?
A lot of people think that Valentine’s Day is connected to Saint Valentine, but the thing is… there were three of them! It’s very possible that modern Valentine’s Day falls near the date of death or burial for one of these saints, but it’s also fairly likely that the ancient Christian church moved the date of Saint Valentine’s death to the middle of February so they could celebrate a pagan festival: Lupercalia.
Lupercalia was celebrated at the ides of February—that is, the 15th, and according to the old Roman lunar calendar, the night of the full moon. Lupercalia used to be a festival that celebrated fertility and agriculture, and was dedicated to the god Faunus, and the legendary founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus.
After Valentine’s Day was made into a Christian celebration by the church, it wasn’t connected to romantic love until 1375, when poet Geoffrey Chaucer made the connection. In his poem, Parliament of Foules, he states: “For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day, whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.”
Valentine’s Day gained a lot more popularity through the 17th century, and by the 18th century, it was more or less accepted across all of Europe. Both friends and lovers took part, no matter what social class they were. Customs included writing each other greetings and cards, and this custom grew as technology around printing and postage got better and better.
Valentine’s Day around the world
Today, people all over the world celebrate this romantic occasion, with many cities and regions all over the world following their own set of unique traditions.
For example, in Lebanon, Saint Valentine is the patron saint of a majority of people. Valentine’s Day in Lebanon can include all the classic gifts that you might expect—chocolates, red roses, etc.—but customs actually change from city to city! In Beirut, romantic dinners are common, and it’s a popular time for marriage proposals. In Sidon, on the other hand, Valentine’s Day is a time to gather together with family, and the holiday is focused on family love rather than romantic love.
Another country That has its own unique Valentine’s Day traditions is Japan—it’s customary for women to give chocolates to men during the holiday, so much so that Japanese chocolate manufacturers tend to make about half of their annual profits from this event alone! This custom is thought to originate from a translation mistake by a chocolate company when the holiday was first being introduced to Japan. No matter how it happened, it’s led to some fascinating cultural twists. For example, the Japanese make a distinction between ‘giri-choko’—or obligation chocolate, which you might get for your co-workers—and ‘honmei-choko’, ‘true-feeling chocolate’, which you would give to someone you really have feelings for. Particularly unpopular people at work might receive ‘ultra-obligatory’ ‘ch?-giri choko’, which is the cheapest chocolate you can find!
Then, in the 80s, Japan decided that march 14th should be ‘White Day’, in which all the men who received chocolate have to respond by returning the favour! The typical romantic dinner that other countries associate with Valentine’s Day still exists in Japanese culture, but they do it on Christmas Eve instead.
Book your Valentine’s Day romantic dinner now
Valentine’s Day is a wonderful time of year to show your love to a significant other, so impress them with an unforgettable night at Cooke’s Restaurant and Bar. Our Valentine’s Day menu has been specifically crafted for an intimate night out by our Group Executive Chef, Jinu Abraham, winner of the Best Head Chef in Oceania award at the 2019 Haute Grandeur Global Awards.
Treat your partner to five incredible courses and champagne on arrival, with the option to add matched wines with the help of our sommelier. Contact us to find out more, and be sure to book your Valentine’s Day romantic dinner at least 24 hours in advance.