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St Valentine’s Day Thursday 14th February 2019

It’s an expensive time of year for all you Lover’s out there, you just finish paying for all the Christmas romance then you get hit with Valentine’s Day. It’s a good job they are worth it!

This year (2019) Valentine’s Day is on a Thursday which we figure is probably one of the best days of the week for Valentines to fall upon. Simply this is because it appears to stretch the weekend out by at least an extra day. Given we’re in the middle of winter this is no bad thing.

St Valentine’s Day History

History tells us that the first Valentine card was sent in 270 A.D. by Saint Valentine himself. He sent this on the eve of his execution for refusing to renounce Christianity. Signed “from your Valentine”, it was a note of appreciation from the young cleric to his jailer’s blind daughter who had brought him food and delivered messages for him.

The Romans celebrated St. Valentine’s Day as the Feast of Lupercalia, dedicated to the pastoral god Lupercus and to the Goddess of Love, Juno. The birds of Italy began mating on February 14, the oracles observed. Roman Maidens placed their names in an urn set up in the public square and courageous bachelors drew from it to obtain their “blind date” for the coming year. The Christian Church denounced these “love lotteries” as pagan rituals. During the Middle Ages, “love lotteries” persisted in France as “chance boxes” that allotted couples one year to get married or part company and, in England, men wore the name of the girl they drew on their sleeve encircled with a heart, you may guess from this ritual that this is where the expression “wearing your heart on your sleeve” originated.

St Valentines Day gift ideas 2019With the invention of the printing press in the mid 1400’s there was an explosion of Valentines as quaint love missives, many were anonymous. Church opposition gradually declined and, by the 1700s, the familiar “roses are red, violets are blue…” verses were popular. In France, Valentines grew in size and elegance featuring ribbons, lace, gilt and other intricate effects made by hand.

The first Valentines in America are recorded as exchanged during the Revolutionary days these were mostly handmade with sentimental verses written in a flowing script. In 1840, Miss Esther Howland, an imaginative artist and entrepreneur became the first regular publisher of Valentines in the United States. She became a successful businesswoman heading her own publishing firm specialising in Valentine cards.

Around 1850, the first “Vinegar Valentines” were produced. These masterpieces of insult were sent anonymously and were popular along with the usual sentimental Valentines until around 1910 when the strictly sentimental ones gained more popularity. Since that time, Valentine’s Day cards can be found to fit almost any relationship. In fact, teachers receive more Valentine’s Day cards than any other group of people.