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Pattaya Daily News

03 February 2010 :: 12:02:36 pm 11986

Valentines Day: History Behind International Lovers Day

Every year 14th February marks a day for lovers or would be lovers across the world who exchange gifts of flowers, candy or even jewellery in the name of St Valentine.
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We know that February has long been associated with romance, but why this particular day? Who is St Valentine? How did he become associated with this ancient ritual?


One story states that Valentine was a priest who served in the third century during the reign of Claudius II in Rome. Claudius decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families and so outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentines action was discovered, Claudius ordered he be put to death.

According to one legend, Valentine sent the first ‘valentine’ greeting himself while in prison. It is believed Valentine fell in love with a young girl who may have been the jailers daughter and before his death, he wrote her a letter which he signed “from your Valentine”, an expression that is still used today. Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France.

Many believe Valentines day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentines death or burial, which probably occurred around 270 A.D. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. The greeting which was written in 1415, is part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London England. Several years later it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois.

In UK, Valentine’s Day began to be celebrated around the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th century, it was common for friends and lovers in all social classes to exchange small tokens of love and affections by hand written notes. By the end of the century, this was taken over by printed cards due to improvements in technology. Americans began exchanging hand made valentine cards around early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began to sell the first mass produced valentine cards in USA.

According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated one billion valentine cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card sending holiday of the year. (an estimated 2.6 billion are sent for Christmas.)

The oldest known Valentine card is on display at the British Museum.

Patty Brown

Photo : Internet   Category : Society

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