How popular is Valentine’s Day? It’s the second biggest holiday for card exchange after Christmas. In fact, 150 million Valentine Day cards are exchanged each year.
Valentine’s Day Has Its Origins In Both Ancient Roman Tradition And Christianity
There are a few legends that deal with how Valentine’s Day originated. One legend revolves around Emperor Claudius II. He decided that single men made stronger soldiers so he banned marriage. Bishop Valentine started performing marriages in secret. He was eventually discovered and put to death.
Other experts surmise that the creation of Valentine’s Day was an attempt to “Christianize” the pagan holiday, Lupercalia. This was a fertility festival held on February 15th.
Valentine Greetings Gained Popularity Through The Middle Ages
The oldest known written valentine was written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife. At the time, he was imprisoned in the Tower of London.
In 1537, King Henry the Seventh made February 14th officially Valentine’s Day.
During Victorian times, it was considered bad luck to sign Valentine cards.
The Tradition Spread
By the 17th century, Valentine’s Day was widely celebrated in Great Britain, Canada, Mexico, France, and Australia. People began to exchange handwritten notes or other small tokens. By 1900, printed cards made an appearance.
In the U.S., people began exchanging handmade valentines in the 1700’s. By the 1840’s, Esther A. Howland started selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. These were very elaborate and made with real lace, pictures, and ribbons.
According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent annually. Women purchase about 85% of all Valentine’s Day cards.
Statistics reveal that 3% of people buy their pets a Valentine’s Day present.
It’s believed the signing of the XOXO came about because when people who could not write would sign their names with “X.”
They would then kiss the “X” to signify their sincerity.
Wearing Your Heart On Your Sleeve
During Medieval times, young men and women would pick a name from a bowl to see who their future spouse might be.
They would pin the name on their sleeve for one week.
Hence, the expression: “Wearing your heart on your sleeve” was born.
Chocolate To The Rescue
In the 1800’s, doctors typically prescribed chocolate for those pining for a lost love.