Valentine’s Day Origins
Valentine’s Day is almost upon us. When I was a kid, it marked one of the the “fun” holidays that we had in school. You know what I mean, folding red and pink construction paper in half. Taking your stubby crayon or pencil and making half a heart shape, and then trying to cut a long line. Unfolded, embellish it with paper lace, glitter, stickers, crayons, what ever the teacher put on your cable, and you had the makings of one of your mother’s favorite gifts – a homemade Valentine.
To your sweetie pie, you gave endless messages through candied hearts. And, if they truly “loved you” they would respond with a candied heart of their own message. But how did this all start, or was it just a room mother’s idea to get little boys and little girls to like each other one day out of the year?
One of the very first Valentine’s Day greetings was written by the French Duke Charles of Orleans while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London after being captured. The note to his wife was a rhyming love letter. And in the first two lines of the poem, he stated “Je suis déjà d’amour tanné. Ma très douce Valentinée.” (I am already sick with love, My very gentle Valentine).
Valentine’s Day Greetings are approximately 25% of the cards that are mailed annually in the United States. However, mass produced Valentine’s Day cards had a humble beginning in Worcester, MA. Its creator was Esther Howland. She had received an English Valentine’s Day card from a business associate of her father. She was so inspired by the card, that she started to mass produce embossed paper lace valentines. She purchased her materials from England and started selling them in her father’s book and stationery store.
Additional gifts such as flowers, candy, romantic dinners, etc., didn’t really become popular until the latter half of the 20th century.
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