During the Middle Ages Valentine’s Day became associated with romance. This was inspired by Geoffrey Chaucer.
By 1797 printers in England had started generating “mechanical valentines” a limited number of special cards containing sentimental verses. These cards could be sent at reduced postal rates making it easier to mail cards anonymously.
The early 19th Century started the popularity of factory made paper Valentine’s. Real ribbons and lace were used to make fancy cards. Paper lace was developed in the mid-19th Century. By the end of the century all cards were machine made.
Esther Howland, daughter to a Massachusetts book and stationery store owner, began a greeting card business in 1850. She began by importing paper lace and floral decorations from England.
People in the United States extended the card giving tradition and began giving a variety of Valentine’s Day gifts in the mid to late 20th century.
AnValentine’s are expected to be sent this year in the United States, according to the U.S. Greeting Card Association. Valentine’s Day is the second most popular card sending holiday in the United States; Christmas is first.
Half of those cards are given to non husband or wife family members.
If you include Elementary School Valentine exchanges an estimate 1 billion Valentine’s are sent each year. Teachers receive the most Valentine wishes!
In 2010 approximately 15 million greetings were sent via e-valentine.
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More often than not I make a card on the computer and write a lovely little note to the Rancher. The Rancher often finds the construction paper and makes me a card. Cards with cut out hearts and drawn cupid’s arrow.
We don’t go “all out” or do anything real fancy to celebrate Valentine’s Day. Many of the past years our first calf came on Valentine’s Day. A card and sometimes a small gift or flowers are exchanged. We enjoy a nice supper, chocolate dessert and retire to the couch for our regularly scheduled evening.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Dear Readers!
What are your Valentine’s Day traditions?