Thursday, January 8, 2009
A little about Valentine's Day Beginnings
Apparently Valentine's Day was observed to some degree in the 4th Century BC and later the Roman Christians tried to abolish it because it was really a lottery for young men's entertainment. In Rome 270Ad they abolished marriage because it made bad soldiers, but then Valentine, bishop of Interamna, a Christian, would invite young lovers to come to meet in secret and he would marry them. Valentine tried to convert the emperor to Christianity, but ended up being clubbed or stoned to death.
As I have read, while Valentine was in jail awaiting execution he fell in love with the jailers blind daughter, his faith and prayers healed her blindness and he signed a farewell message to her "From your Valentine".
I guess Valentine cards began to exist in 1415 when Charles, Duke of Orleans sent a card to his wife while in prisoned in the Tower of London. In the 1600's it was attempted to ban this practice, but card giving grew. It was around this time that Cupid..the naked angel with arrows became popular.
During the 1800's with the onset of the industrial period...cards began to be printed. Mechanical cards emerged and racy verses grew in popularity when sending them anonymously became popular...or maybe that should be the other way around....sending them anonymously allowed for less prudishness!
The fist American publisher printer was Esther Howland...she made fancy lace cards and they supposedly cost $5-$10. Wow! I wonder what one of those cards today might cost! Let me know if you have one.