A DAY OF ROMANCE
According to the Perry-Castaneda Library, University of Texas, Valentine’s Day was first romanticized in both Chaucer’s poetry and Shakespeare’s work, as a result it gained popularity throughout Britain and the rest of the Europe. At the time, handmade paper cards became the tokens-du-jour in the Middle Ages. Eventually, the tradition of Valentine’s Day made its way to the New World. In the 19th century, the industrial revolution ushered in factory-made cards. In 1913, Hallmark Cards of Kansas City, Missouri, first offered Valentine’s Day cards and began mass producing them in 1916. February has not been the same ever since.
VALENTINE’S DAY GREETINGS
In 1849 Esther A. Howland of Worcester, Massachusetts, began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures. She is also known as the Mother of the Valentine. Here is a verse from one of Howland’s valentines:
Oh, could I hear thee once declare
That fond affection lives for me,
Oh, could I once delighted share,
The sweet return of love from thee.
Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 180 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year.
VALENTINE’S DAY BY THE NUMBERS
Let’s break down the mystique of Valentine’s Day with the most romantic way – with cold, hard facts and figures.