Why We Send Valentine’s Day Cards

Ernie the Eagle

Are your kids asking questions about Valentine's Day? Here are a few answers for them!

Although it might seem like a modern phenomenon, the practice of sending valentines is a centuries old tradition.

Among the earliest known written valentine cards are the love letters that Charles, Duke of Orléans, sent to his wife in 1415, while he was in prison in England.

Valentine’s Day was first celebrated during the 17th century, and during the 18th century friends and lovers exchanged little tokens of affection such as handwritten notes. Printers also started producing Valentine’s Day cards with verses and sketches, called “mechanical valentines.”

In the early 19th century, paper valentines became so popular in England that they started mass producing them in factories. Fancy Valentine’s Day cards were made with real lace and ribbons, with paper lace introduced in the mid-19th century. Reduced postal rates made the practice of mailing Valentine’s Day cards less personal but simpler. People also began to send anonymous cards, giving rise to the ever-so-sweet idea of a secret admirer.

In time, Valentine’s Day came to be regarded as a day that celebrates all kinds of love, not just romantic love. Today, cards are given to teachers, parents, children, siblings, friends and sweethearts.

The popularity of Valentine’s Day has spread all around the world and is the second largest card-selling event after Christmas. The digital era has provided a way of creating and sending Valentine’s Day cards via e-cards.

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