Valentines day has been around for centuries, so I've taken a look at the history behind it, finding out where on earth the idea started!
Stories about the origins of the day go back to around AD 250, with tales of ‘Saint Valentine’, of which there is little known. We know that he was a holy priest in Rome, and was executed on the 14th February, which was how Valentines day came about. The actual idea of sending Valentines Day cards seems to have begun in around 1400. The oldest known valentine in existence was from Charles, Duke of Orleans, written to his wife in 1415, whilst he was imprisoned in the Tower of London; possibly not the happiest of messages, but romantic nonetheless.
Love poems and heartfelt notes were the traditional Valentines back then, and it wasn't until the early 1700s that the Americans began exchanging hand made cards. The 1800s saw the introduction of mass-produced Valentines, which helped people express their emotions easily at a time where it was widely discouraged. Jump forward to today, and Valentines Day is now the second largest card-selling ‘holiday’ of the year (after Christmas, of course).
There are stark contrasts between now and then in many ways, but the way Valentines Day is done today is one of the biggest changes. The personal poems and love notes of the past have been widely replaced by the overwhelming production of cards and gifts, often available as early as January. I expect in today’s society, people are more used to the cards on offer, and the idea of receiving a poem might bring the words ‘cheesy’ to mind, and do more to put them off, whereas it may be others’ idea of perfect. Each to their own though, we’ve never all been the same and I’m sure there are a number of romantics out there who choose to buy cards while others may make them.
Statistics say that 85% of women do the card buying, but that must depend on who they asked. Maybe there is still an air of mystery amongst the men in not revealing they’ve been buying cards, or maybe women are trying to drop hints, who knows. Either way, romance is clearly not dead, Valentines is just different to how it used to be. Just look at the number of cards sent on this day, over 1 billion, all to tell someone they are loved… it’s actually pretty sweet.