by Ingredient

A History That’s Bound To Melt Your Heart

Even though its one of the most celebrated holidays of the year, Valentine’s Day is starting to lose fans like an untalented American Idol contestant.


Some people nowadays are showing disinterest in the holiday. The major reason is because some are starting to believe that there’s no such thing as true love. Most of these people would be those individuals that are part of the single crowd.

There may not be a holiday for people who don’t have a loved one, but Valentine’s Day isn’t all about roses and cute cards in the shape of hearts.

There is a deeper meaning that can easily be found in the holiday’s history.

When it comes to recalling the history of the holiday, there isn’t one exact story. Instead there are three variations of an individual named St. Valentine.

According to one legend, in 270 A.D., the Roman Emperor Claudius II had prohibited marriage for young men, claiming that bachelors made better soldiers.

Despite the rule, St. Valentine continued to secretly perform marriage ceremonies. But sooner than later, the priest was eventually apprehended by the Romans and put to death.

Another legend has it that Valentine, imprisoned by Claudius, fell in love with the daughter of his jailer. Before he was executed, he allegedly sent her a letter signed "from your Valentine."

Another story surrounding St. Valentine was not focused on passionate love, but instead it was about “Christian love”. It is said that the priest was murdered for refusing to renounce his religion.


The main fact derived from the three variations is that out of love, St. Valentine died a disappointing death that took place on February 14. But how where exactly did we get cards and boxes of chocolate from?

Experts say that the first Valentines Day card was sent in 1415 by Charles, the Duke of Orleans. The Duke had sent a card to his wife while he was held prisoner in the Tower of London. The actual card is now preserved in the British Museum.

That very card could have been the influence for the intimate holiday. By the 18th century, gift-giving and exchanging hand-made cards on Valentine’s Day had become common.


Hand-made valentine cards made of pretty things such as lace, ribbons, and hearts eventually spread to the American colonies.


The tradition of Valentine's cards did not become popular in the United States until the 1850s where Esther A. Howland, a Mount Holyoke graduate and native of Worcester, Mass., began mass-producing them.

Today, of course, the holiday has become a constantly growing commercial success. According to the Greeting Card Association, 25% of all cards sent each year are valentines.

There also many interesting traditions that went along with the holiday. Hundreds of years ago in England, many children dressed up as their parents on Valentines day and sang out in the streets. An example of a verse they sang was:

“Good morning to you, valentine

Curl your locks as I do mine

Two before and three behind

Good morning to you, valentine”

The holiday also carried over into Wales, where wooden spoons were carved and given as gifts on February 14th. Hearts, keys and keyholes we’re just some of the decorations on the spoons, which meant to say “You unlock my heart”.


In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who their valentines would be. They would then wear these names on their sleeves for one week, creating the phrase “you wear your heart on your sleeve”.

Some people also used to believe that if a woman saw a robin flying overhead on Valentine's Day, it meant she would marry a sailor.

If she saw a sparrow, she would marry a poor man and be very happy. If she saw a goldfinch, she would marry a millionaire.

It was also said that if you cut an apple in half and count how many seeds are inside, you would know how many children you will have. Whether this belief worked for both genders, we’ll never know.

Corny as these traditions sound, they are true. Surprisingly, they have lasted hundreds of years and warmed thousands of hearts.

Valentine’s Day is simply about showing love to someone in the form of a card or a gift, whether or not you have a loved one.

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