Everything You Ever Needed to Know About Valentine’s Cards
Posted on 25 January 2022
As a country, we write more greetings cards per person than any other nation and, on the 14th February, huge numbers of us will send Valentine’s cards. It is a fun way to show your love for that special person in your life, whether they are a long-term partner or are still unaware of your secret admiration! But what do we know about Valentine’s cards and their history? Here are some fun facts about these popular romantic missives.
The History of Valentine’s Cards
There have been fertility festivals and celebrations held in February for centuries. The Romans celebrated Lupercalia on the ides of February – the 15th – and many in the middle ages also believed that was the date that birds began mating. The Christian church then attached Saint Valentine, who was said to have helped young Roman soldiers marry in secret against the law at the time, to the 14th February. The two festivals combined over time and led to the celebration we know today.
The first mention of it as a festival of romance comes from poet Geoffrey Chaucer’s 1375 poem “Parliament of Foules,” where he wrote, “For this was sent on Seynt Valentyne’s day / Whan every foul cometh ther to choose his mate.”
The British Library houses a Valentine’s poem sent from Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415, but the oldest existing Valentine’s card as we would know it is said to date from around 1790, and was sold at auction for £7,000 in 2019.
One of the grandest cards of all time was the one shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis sent to opera singer Maria Callas. It was said to have been made of solid gold, studded with diamonds and emeralds, and wrapped in a mink coat!
Queen Victoria and Valentine’s Cards
It was during the Victorian age that Britain really embraced the Valentine’s Card. Mass production meant that they could be sent out in huge numbers, and postal workers were even given a special allowance to spend on refreshments in the lead up to the 14th February, due to their increased workload!
Queen Victoria was very interested in Valentine’s cards, often sending them to her attendant John Brown as the two grew close following the death of Prince Albert. Whether there was really a romantic relationship between the two remains a mystery, but the cards were definitely a display of the affection between them. In addition, she is said to have enjoyed sending perfumed cards to other royal aides in order to see their reaction when they were delivered!
Valentine’s Day Today
Today, Valentine’s Day is massive in this country. The Greeting Card Association revealed that we sent 18 million cards in 2020, spending £47 million! In addition, around ten percent of all marriage proposals take place on Valentine’s Day, making it a truly romantic holiday.
There are all manner of ways to celebrate, whether it’s a fancy meal, a romantic break, a special gift for your other half or simply sending them the classic card. We have a range of African-inspired Valentine’s cards for you to browse, ensuring that your romantic message this year is extra special. They are made using Royal Red African wax print material to really fit the loving theme of the season and you can buy them now. Happy Valentine’s Day!