February 14th, also know as Valentine’s Day, is a very important day in the English-speaking world. Traditionally, it was a day for lovers but it has since transformed into a day where people can express their love to all the important people in their life including family, friends, work colleagues and even pets! This year people in the US are expected to spend more than 20 billion dollars on gifts and cards for each other. But, where did Valentine’s Day come from?
Valentine’s Day is associated with Christianity and one story says that it originates from the legend of Saint Valentine of Rome. Saint Valentine was a priest when Claudius II was emperor. This was a time when life was very dangerous for Christians as they were persecuted. Valentine was known to help Christians and because of this he was killed. The story says he cured a woman called Julia and before he died wrote a card to her, signing it “Your Valentine”. This was the first ever Valentine’s card.
The legend of Valentine survived for many centuries and it became popular in the Middle Ages. In the 1300s the famous English author Chaucer connected Valentine’s Day to romantic love in his poetry. This continued with other authors including Shakespeare and by the late 1700s the idea of a romantic Valentine’s Day was very popular.
During the early 1800s people began to send Valentine’s Day cards and to start with they were handmade and they were sent secretly between lovers. Later on, Valentine’s Day cards grew in popularity and were produced in factories. In Great Britain in 1835 around 60,000 Valentine’s Day cards were sent. They were often sent anonymously because people thought that it was bad luck to sign a Valentine’s Day card with their name. It was popular, however, for cards to be accompanied by a poem:
Roses are Red,
Violets are Blue,
Sugar is Sweet,
And so are You.
Nowadays, a lot of money is spent on cards, candy, flowers and jewellery for Valentine’s Day. Check out the video below for an idea of how much people in America can spend on Valentine’s Day.
Are you going to send a card to anyone special this year?