Why Do We Give Valentine's Day Cards?

Why Do We Give Valentine's Day Cards?
Loading... 10 view(s)
Why Do We Give Valentine's Day Cards?

From Your Valentine

Whether it’s the tiny cartoon character cards handed out in grade school classrooms, a glitter and lace design made for a grandparent, or a romantic sentiment for a sweetheart, approximately 150 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year. This is second only to the number of Christmas cards sent during the holiday season. How did the tradition of Valentine’s Day cards, and the holiday, itself, begin?

The origins of this love-filled holiday are believed to be traced back to a third-century Roman priest named Valentinus. During this time, Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage for soldiers, believing that single men made better warriors. Valentinus secretly married soldiers and their sweethearts and was discovered and arrested. During his time in prison, he became close with his jailer’s daughter. On the night before his death on February 14th 269 AD, he wrote a letter to her and signed it “From Your Valentine”, creating the very first valentine card.

In 498, Pope Gelasius honored the martyred priest by making February 14th St. Valentine’s Day. This was mainly a religious feast day and did not become a popular holiday until centuries later. Imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415, the French Duke of Orleans wrote a love letter to his wife and referenced St. Valentine. Handmade Valentine’s Day cards became widespread in Victorian England and the tradition crossed the pond to America in the mid-1800s.

Often called “the mother of the valentine”, artist and printer Esther A. Howland began designing and selling elaborate lace and ribbon adorned Valentine’s Day cards around this time. The famous greeting card company Hallmark stocked their store shelves with their first printed Valentine’s Day cards in 1916.

Today we shower our loved ones with many types of Valentine’s Day gifts including chocolates, flowers and jewelry. It has become a day to celebrate all kinds of love; romantic, friendship and family.