A Brief History of Valentine’s Day

Valentines-DayWe know Valentine’s Day for its hearts, flowers and chocolate, but there’s more to it than just gifts and candy. It had a long and rich history of love centuries before greeting cards became an industry. Here’s a brief history of Valentine’s Day.

The Man Behind the Holiday Valentine’s Day has a long history, but the popular theory traces it back to Saint Valentine.  He was a Roman bishop who performed marriages for soldiers and their sweethearts when it was forbidden. The good deed did not go unpunished — he was jailed for the act, but it was in his jail cell that the valentine as we know it was born. He sent a letter to his jailer’s daughter signed “from your Valentine.”

Valentines-DayA Day of Love Several hundred years later is when the idea of love wrapped itself around Valentine’s Day. The poet known for the The Canterbury Tales — Geoffrey Chaucer — wrote a poem in the 1300s called Parliament of Fowls in which he made a direct connection between Valentine’s Day and love:

“For this was on Saint Valentine’s day, // When every fowl comes there his mate to take, // Of every species that men know, I say, // And then so huge a crowd did they make, // That earth and sea, and tree, and every lake // Was so full, that there was scarcely space // For me to stand, so full was all the place.”

Valentines as We Know Them Those heart-covered cards we give every year have roots in late 18th century England. The Young Man’s Valentine Writer was created with little rhymes and cute couplets for people who weren’t able to express their love in words. These cards were popular, but another 40 years passed before these valentines were massed produced and the Royal Mail Service made sending cards affordable to commoners with the Penny Post.

Valentines-DayModern Day Fun Facts Though most kids hand out valentines to their classmates, they are not included in the 145 million cards sent for Valentine’s Day each year in the United States. It’s second only to Christmas for the most cards sent to honor a holiday, according to According to the Greeting Card Association. But going beyond the card, people didn’t start giving gifts for Valentine’s Day until the 1900s and even then, diamonds didn’t become a popular gift for the holiday until the 1980s.

Whether it’s jewelry or a stuffed animal you want to give your sweetheart, shop LTD Commodities for gifts and ideas as unique as your valentine.

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