History of Valentine’s Day

History of Valentine’s Day

When it comes to romance, and the days that focus on it, none is more popular and famous than Valentine’s Day. Named, as its full name indicates, for a Christian saint, the holiday is a celebration of love throughout the ages.

Saint Valentine himself, as a figure in the deep past, has many contradictory reports about his life. There are enough confused elements, such as vastly different years that he is reported to be alive and active, that some people believe there was more than one Valentine martyred or spoken of to make the modern understanding of the figure. The most common story, however, is fairly consistent. Valentine was a priest that performed marriages for Roman soldiers. This was against the law set by the Emperor, who felt that married men were poor soldiers. Arrested, Valentine refused an attempt by Emperor Claudius to convert to paganism, offered because of the emperor’s positive view of the man. Before he was executed by beheading, he was reported to have performed a miracle, healing the eyes of the jailor’s blind daughter, leading to conversion of much of the jailor’s household.

Valentine’s Feast day was marked as the day he was buried. From the start, it was a festival of spring and the life of the religious figure. But it slowly began to gain a second meaning. By the 1400s, it had gained popularity in noble circles as a day of love. Poems, gifts, and the like were established early.

By the 17-1800s, the holiday had a new surge of interest due to the ability to print cards and lowered cost of shipping items. In England, paper Valentines were so popular that in the early 19th century there were factories dedicated to making them.

The holiday has become cemented in popular culture, to the point of saturation. The Greeting Card Association estimates 190 million valentines are bought and sent each year. The cards themselves are sourced to another part of the old myth, in which Valentine is said to have sent a message to the girl he healed before his death signed “from your Valentine”, though this appears to have been added much later than much of the original story.

Traditional images of the holiday include hearts, as a sign of affection, as well as gifts involving candy or decorations similarly noted. Cupids and other traditional signs of love also are associated with this day. Red and pink are the primary colors used by decorations during this holiday. All of these meaningful images and decorative motifs, of course, can be assisted by any number of items in our catalog. So don’t miss your chance to be romantic this year!

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