VALENTINE'S DAY - THE HISTORY
Valentine's Day has a fascinating history but the exact original of the day is unknown we have taken a look at some of the theories.
Historians speculate Valentine's Day was held from February 13th to the 15th and called the Feast of Lupercalia. During these Roman festivities animals were sacrificed and used to whip women with the animals blood. It was believed this ritual would make them more fertile. The festival was also an opportunity for single people to meet one another.
The Catholic Church recognises three different martyred Saint Valentines. Popular legend hold that the Roman Emperor Claudius II was executed. Saint Valentine of Terni on February 14th 278 AD. Saint Valentine was executed because men were encouraged to join the army rather than marry, Claudius continued marrying couples in secret. It was said he left a note saying 'From Your Valentine'. In 496 A.D Pope Gelasius declared February 14th the First Feast Day of Saint Valentine.
During the 19th century popular poets and writers such as Geoffrey Chaucer and William Shakespeare linked Valentine's Day to love and romance. Soon cards and tokens of affection were being sent, the first Valentine's card was dated back to 1415.
Valentine's Day is mentioned ruefully by Ophelia in William Shakespeare's Hamlet (1600–1601):
To-morrow is Saint Valentine's day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
Then up he rose, and donn'd his clothes,
And dupp'd the chamber-door;
Let in the maid, that out a maid
Never departed more.
— William Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act IV, Scene 5
Post and printing became cheaper during the Industrial Revolution which allowed card companies to mass produce cards. Esther A Howland first sold mass produced cards in America in the 1840s, in 1913 Hallmark Cards were established.
Every year 145 million cards are sent worldwide in celebration of romance and love.