According to popular legends, Valentine was a priest who helped young soldiers who were then forbidden to get married. There are also those who think that the feast of St. Valentine was originally a pagan fertility festival in Rome. Curiously, it was only when Geoffrey Chaucer used this feast in a poem celebrating the engagement of Richard II and Anne of Bohemia that Valentine’s Day became associated with love and romance the way we know it today.
Regardless of where Valentine’s Day really originated, one thing have stayed the same through the years – the holiday is recognized by the exchange of cards between lovers. Valentine cards have always been popular since time immemorial. The first valentines ever written were created by Charles, Duke of Orleans for his wife. Most of these notes can still be viewed in the British Museum up to this day.
Exchanging valentines is a common practice since the 16th century and until today valentine cards haven’t lost their touch yet. In fact, Valentine’s Day sees the most number of cards sent within the year, second only to Christmas. Throughout history, these cards have served their purpose of expressing love to men and women joined by their affection for each other.
The only difference is in how they are made. In the 17th century, cards were personally created by those who send them. These cards were elaborately designed with lace, flowers and other trimmings to make them unique. It was only in the 1800’s that mass-produced valentines were introduced in the market. By the 19th century, cards gained more popularity with the advent of the penny post which made sending notes a lot more affordable.
Penny postcards became widely popular towards the end of the nineteenth century. At that time, it was considered a fad to display one’s collection of cards for guests to marvel. Postcards and valentines were then preserved for the pleasure of both the recipients and his or her guests.
Because of the increasing regard for valentine cards, manufacturers sought to find new and exciting ways to make their products more attractive. Thus came the photographic postcards. Valentines with actual photos on them started making their way into stationery shops.
The designs from old valentine cards make these vintage items attractive. You must have a couple of old cards yourself. People keep them for their sentimental value. Instead of letting them gather dust in your shelves you can make a poster out of them and hang them on your living room wall. That would start an interesting family conversation. You can even put them on display by putting them in those picture-holders suspended by wires that are so in fashion these days. There’s just a lot that you can do with old memories with just a bit of imagination and creativity.