Valentines Day

Valentines+Day

Aliyah Oliver

Every February 14, across the entire world, candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones and friends. St. Valentine’s Day came from a man named St. Valentine who was a priest that served during the third century in Rome. Valentine’s Day is also celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia.Americans probably began exchanging handmade valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America.

 

Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap.” Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. There are other stories about Valentine’s Day and were it first originated. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl–possibly his jailer’s daughter–who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today.

 

Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure. By the Middle Ages, perhaps thanks to this reputation, Valentine would become one of the most popular saints in England and France. Some people believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial, which probably occurred around A.D. 270. Others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia.