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What’s the Deal With Valentine’s Day Cards?
This may be the first year in a long time that kids don’t pass out Valentine’s Day cards at school. Going in to the new year, the seasonal section of most stores is lined with cards featuring fun characters from superheroes to unicorns. Handing out cards is now a well-loved tradition, but have you ever wondered how Valentine’s Day became one of the biggest card-giving holidays of the year? IT’S IN THE CARDS WHY VALENTINE’S DAY IS THE ULTIMATE CARD HOLIDAY Like many holiday traditions, the convention of handing out Valentine’s Day cards goes back centuries. During the 1700s, it became fashionable to trade Valentine’s Day cards with a short poem or verse. The popularity of swapping cards only increased throughout the 1800s. Sometimes, people would go as far as to paint or draw spring-like images on the cards. They were much more elaborate than what we typically see today, though they were still usually very small. But where did those folks get the idea? People of that era were likely inspired by stories that go back even further. There are legends that the originator of this holiday tradition was Saint Valentine himself. One story says that on the night before he was set to be executed,
Valentine wrote a small letter to a jailer’s daughter. He ended the note with “Your Valentine.”
It’s unknown whether that story is true, but to 18th century Europeans and Americans, it was inspiring! So inspiring, in fact, that the entire Valentine’s Day industry began to gain traction. A guidebook called “The Young Man’s Valentine” was published in 1797 to help suitors garner the attention of their love interests through the written word. Eventually, books aimed at women were also published, including “The Lady’s Own Valentine Writer,” which served much the same goal. These publications, along with young people writing notes to one another every February, have made Valentine’s Day cards an ingrained tradition, and now people can’t get enough of them!
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