Updated date:

The Story Behind Valentines Day

Author:

Valentines Day is always February 14th. It is a day to celebrate lovers.

Story of St. Valentine

Story of St. Valentine

Happy Valentine Day

Happy Valentine Day

The Story of Valentines Day

One has to back to Roman times when Emperor Claudius Gothicus II reigned in 269-270. For four hundred years, the Roman soldiers were forbidden to marry, and it was a crime punishable by death if found associating with Christians. It was discovered that a man named Valentinus was, in fact, performing weddings for the soldiers. He was arrested and jailed, waiting for execution. While in prison, the jailer found him to a learned man and asked if his daughter could visit him.

The jailer's daughter had been blind since birth, and Valentinus started reading to the young girl and teaching about God. Suddenly a bright light appeared in the cell, and the young girl saw for the first time. And Valentinus said, 'let us pray to God." Valentinus was beheaded on February 14, 270 A.D.

In the fifth century, Pope Gelasius proclaimed February 14 as St. Valentine Day as a Christian holiday.

St. Valentine is the patron saint of beekeepers.

And so, one of the most loved and famous holidays started as an execution, then made a saint, then notes between lovers to today a major retail bonanza.

St. Valentine in Prison

St. Valentine in Prison

First Mention of Valentine Saying

In 1415, the Duke of Orleans was still in the Tower of London confined for nine years. He wrote a letter to his wife and said he was 'sick of love' and called her his 'gentle Valentine." King Henry V even hired a writer to compose a valentine for Catherine of Valois.

And in the play in Shakespeare's Hamlet, Ophelia calls herself Hamlet's Valentine. Written valentines began around 1400. By the 18th century lovers of all social classes began exchanging tokens of affection. In 1900 printed cards were replacing handwritten ones.

Duke of Orlean Valentine Letter

Duke of Orlean Valentine Letter

Vintage Valentine

Vintage Valentine

Vintage Valentine

Vintage Valentine

Vintage BEE MY Valentine

Vintage BEE MY Valentine

A Retail Bonanza

It is expected that 27 Billion dollars will be spent in 2021 for Valentine's Day. Broken down it is spent on:

  • 2.3 billion on flowers
  • 2.4 billion on candy
  • 1.3 billion on cards
  • 5.8 billion on jewelry
  • 2.1 billion on gift cards
  • 4.3 billion on dining out
  • 2.9 billion on clothing

So it is easy to see why merchants and retail love Valentine's Day. It is the second-largest spending behind Christmas.

Mother of Valentines

Ester A. Howland was born in 1828 in Massachusetts whose father owned a printing shop. Ester and her brother both helped out in the shop. After college, Esther noticed beautiful Valentine cards from England and noticed how expensive they were. She decided she could do better and cheaper. She set up her 'shop' in the attic of her home, hired an all-female group of women, and began pasting real lace, ribbons, and colorful pictures. Her brother, the salesman, came back with hundreds of orders, and her company made in 1850 $100,000(today it would be three million) per year.

After her father took ill, Esther sold the company to The Whitney Company. Unfortunately, it had to liquidate in 1942 due to the paper shortage of WWII.

Mother of Valentines Shop

Mother of Valentines Shop

Howland's Hand-made Lace Valentine

Howland's Hand-made Lace Valentine

Comments

fran rooks (author) from Toledo, Ohio on February 02, 2021:

Rosina, It was kind of a fun article, thanks for visiting.

Rosina S Khan on February 02, 2021:

It was great to know the story behind Valentine's Day. I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing, Fran.