The History of St. Valentine’s Day

Across the world on February 14th, many flowers, playing cards and presents might be exchanged between family members, as St. Valentine’s day is widely known.

However, the story of why we have fun this present day is a bit of a thriller.

The custom of St. Valentine’s Day mixes parts of each historic Roman rites and Christian custom. Just to confuse issues additional, three totally different saints known as Valentine are recognized by the Catholic Church.

One legend is that Valentine was a priest in Rome through the third century. Emperor Claudius II decreed that marriage was to be outlawed for younger males, as he thought that single males made higher troopers than those that had been married with households.

Valentine, felt the decree was unjust and unfair, and defied the Emperor by performing secret marriages for younger lovers. When his actions for undercover lovers was found, Claudius ordered valentine be executed. Variations on this legend say that Valentine was put to dying for attempting to assist fellow Christians escape from harsh Roman prisons the place they had been typically tortured.

According to a different legend, Valentine could have really dispatch the primary ‘valentine’ greeting himself in 270 AD the day earlier than he was to be executed for refusing to resign his Christian beliefs. Allegedly he dispatch notice of appreciation to his jailer’s blind daughter for bringing him meals and delivering messages whereas he was imprisoned, signed “from your Valentine.

While we can never be certain as to the true origin of the St. Valentine legend, one thing is for certain, it must have been an appealing and enduring story because by the Middle Ages, Valentine had become one of the most popular saints in France and Britain.

The timing observance of his saint’s day may have been driven by the common place practice of trying to integrate previous pagan festivals into the Christian calendar. in this case, the Lupercalia festival.

In ancient Rome, February was seen as the beginning of spring and was considered a time for purification. Houses were ritually cleansed by sweeping them out and then sprinkling salt and wheat throughout the interiors (we still refer to Spring Cleaning to this day).

Lupercalia, which began on the ‘ides (15th) of February’, was a fertility festival dedicated to the agricultural god Lupercus and to the Goddess of Love, Juno, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus. Roman maidens placed their names into an urn set up in the public squares and young single men drew from it to get a ‘blind date‘ for the coming year. More often than not, these annual matches often ended in marriage.

St. Valentine’s Day was set at February 14th by Pope Gelasius, at around 500 AD. By this time, the ‘lottery’ system for romantic dating was deemed un-Christian and had been outlawed. During the Middle Ages, the practice of love lotteries carried on as ‘Chance Boxes’. In France , drawings from the boxes allotted couples one year to get married or part company. In England, it was a common practice for men to wear the name of the girl they drew from the chance boxes on their sleeve, encircled with a heart.

Also at this time, it was commonly believed in parts of England and France that February 14 marked the beginning of birds’ mating season, which increased the notion that Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance.

Valentines messages started to appear around the beginning of the Fifteenth century, and even in these formative times they were often given anonymously, perhaps harking back to the unknown recipients of the Roman lotteries.

The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. The greeting, which was written in 1415, is part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London.

In the United Kingdom, St. Valentine’s Day became a popular celebration around the 1600’s. It continued to take hold, with the familiar “roses are pink, violets are blue” verses making their debut sometime in the seventeenth century. By the 1850’s, it was common for lovers from all social standings to give their adored ones small gifts or handwritten letters. At the same time, in France, people began to decorate their valentines with ribbons and lace.

By the start of the twentieth century, the handwritten letters gave way to cards as advances in printing technology had improved the quality of printed cards. At the time, it was culturally discouraged for people to show their emotions in such a direct way as a letter, so a printed card was a more acceptable method. More affordable postage costs and increasing use of the postal system probably contributed to the rise in popularity of the Valentine’s card.

Americans probably first began exchanging handmade valentines with verses in the early 1700s. In the mid nineteenth century, the first mass-produced valentines began to go on sale in America. Miss Esther Howland, an artist and entrepreneur, became the first regular publisher of valentines in the USA. Often referred to as ‘the Mother of the Valentine’, Miss Howland designed many elaborate creations using lace, ribbons and colourful pictures known as “scrap”. Her playing cards often price between $5 – $10 every, with some as a lot as $35, astonishingly costly for the time.

The Greeting Card Association estimates that if we embody kids classroom valentines, over one billion valentine playing cards might be opened this 12 months. St. Valentine’s Day is the second largest card-sending time of the 12 months, accounting for 25% of all seasonal card gross sales (Christmas accounts for 60%).

It is estimated that girls buy 80 % of all valentine’s playing cards, which signifies that a big proportion of males both neglect, or aren’t very romantic on the subject of reciprocating! Valentine’s Day is widely known within the USA, Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, France, and Australia, and is growing in reputation in lots of different components of the world.

Facts about Valentine’s day playing cards (from the Greeting Card Association)

Approximately 25% of particular person valentine playing cards are humorous, with adults aged 35-and-under being the most probably to ship humorous playing cards. Valentines Day is the most important e-card sending event of the 12 months. An estimated 14 million e-valentines might be dispatch in 2008. Greeting playing cards are historically the preferred Valentines Day reward within the U.S., rating forward of sweets, flowers or dinner out. American males could also be extra critical about Valentines Day than girls. In a nationwide survey for GCA in 2007, 45% of girls mentioned they had been doubtless to provide a humorous valentine to their sweetheart, in comparison with solely 34% of males. The proportion of particular person valentines exchanged by the mail compared to hand supply is roughly 50-50. Red is the preferred coloration alternative for valentine playing cards, observe by pink after which white. Hearts, roses, Cupid and lace are conventional valentine card icons.

2 thoughts on “The History of St. Valentine’s Day

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