Valentine's Day - The Hallmark Conspiracy
This entry was posted on February 14, 2013.
Like many people, I have always been suspicious of the origins of Valentine’s Day. Previously without spending anytime whatsoever researching the subject, I simply assumed that it was just another ‘special’ day created by Hallmark to sit alongside ‘The Sweetest Day – Oct 19th’,’Friendship Day – August 4th’ or even ‘Toe Nail Picking Day – July 7th’.
However, I was pleasantly surprised to read that the origins date back centuries, rather than just the creation of Hallmark. Valentine was a third century Roman priest who held secret marriages ceremonies when the act of marriage was prohibited for young men. When Valentines actions were discovered, he was sentenced to death by the Roman Emperor Claudius II.
Whilst awaiting his fate in prison, it is said that Valentine used his saintly abilities to heal the jailer’s daughter who was blind. Naturally they fell in love. Before being sent to his death on February 14th 270 AD, he wrote a letter to the jailer’s daughter and signed it "From your Valentine," an expression that is still in use today.
Over a thousand years later, during the 14th century St. Valentine's Day finally became definitively associated with love and romance. In medieval France and England it was believed that birds mated on February 14, Chaucer used the image of birds as the symbol of lovers in poems dedicated to the day… hence the term ‘lovebirds’.
During the Middle Ages, Valentine became one of the most popular saints in England and France. The Christian church even attempted to sanctify the holiday. The holiday continued to evolve over the centuries and by the 18th century, gift-giving and exchanging hand-made cards on Valentine's Day had become common in England.
Over time, this tradition spread to the American colonies and by the1840s Valentine's Day greeting cards began to be commercially produced in the United States.
Valentine’s Day cards represent a quarter of all cards sent each year (1 billion cards), making it the second largest card sending holiday after Christmas.
Whether or not the above story changes your views on Valentine’s day, Have You Seen the Ring would like to wish a HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!