1 Feb 2020
As soon as you read or hear the words “Roses are red …” you know you’re in Valentine’s Day territory. And if you want to buy a card to send to your loved one, now’s the time to do it!
Valentine was a real person who gained his Sainthood after coming to a sticky end – as was the case with most saints. There are a number of myths and legends surrounding how he came to be associated with romance. One is that, as a Christian, Valentine was jailed by the Romans and sentenced to death. While imprisoned, he fell in love with the jailer’s daughter, and just before his execution, he sent her a love letter which he signed off, “From your Valentine”.
There’s no record of why we celebrate love on St Valentine’s Day, although a poem written by Chaucer (of The Canterbury Tales fame) in 1375 gives us our first clue. Historians know that love was traditionally celebrated on or around 14th February as it was seen as the time when the birds got together to find a mate. In his poem, Chaucer referred to this in the same sentence as the Saint’s Day and that seems to be the start of St Valentine being associated with romantic love.
The first Valentine’s Day cards appeared in Britain in the 18th century when sending anonymous messages and flowers from “your Valentine” became popular. By 1900, printing technology had improved so much that greetings cards were affordable to everyone. Socially, it was also becoming less acceptable to express your emotions, which made cards an ideal way of showing someone how much you cared.
We all do! And not just for romantic partners. In fact, ways of celebrating love and friendship are slowly eroding the romantic love element of the day. A survey by the American National Retail Federation discovered that Americans are actually spending more money on cards and gifts for family members, friends, classmates and even pets than they were on their partners.
More and more women are celebrating what’s become known as ‘Galentine’s Day’ which is actually all about friendships. It wasn’t a thing until 2010 when the main character of the TV programme Parks & Recreation celebrated, what she termed, ‘Galentine’s Day’ with her women friends on the night before Valentine’s. The idea struck a chord and has subsequently been adopted by women all over the world.
Many singletons have also started celebrating ‘anti-Valentine’s’ by simply going out with a group of friends on 14th February, as this prevents them having to sit at home alone feeling like they’re missing out because they don’t have a partner.
It doesn’t matter if you want to send Valentine’s Day cards to your girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband, or be more inclusive and send them to friends, relatives and your family dog, Valentine’s Day cards are an enduringly popular way of sharing the love.
There are cards and gifts for every taste, so whether you want something that’s seriously romantic, sweet and charming, or funny, pop over to your nearest UOE Store where you’ll find a great selection. And as we’re introducing a greener range of cards to our stores, the majority of them being printed on recycled card and packaging free, you’ll be as kind to your planet as you are to your loved ones!