A Little History about Valentine's Day Cards
I remember when I was in the first or second grade and it was around the time for Valentine's Day and the teacher would always have us make these bags decorated with red hearts and lace and whatever else we could think of, it was so much fun. Then on Valentine's Day we would all bring our valentine cards and give each of our classmates a valentine in their bag so no one went home without a valentine card. Then afterward we would have a little party and the teacher would give us cupcakes and cookies and whatever other treat she brought for us. After school I would be anxious to get home to show my mother and father and sisters my valentines. I remember keeping them for a long time.
Now the reason I bring this up is because when my kids were small and they would have Valentine's Day parties as well, they would bring home their valentine cards and I noticed that there was such a difference between the valentine cards that I would get as a child compared to my kids' cards. Their cards just didn't seem to have the beauty or flair that mine did. I think they just mass produced these valentine cards with barbie on them or other cartoons without giving thought to giving them any character or personality. The vintage valentine cards were just so much prettier and colorful.
So I did some research on the history of Valentine cards and what I found was pretty interesting I hope you enjoy it as well as the old valentine pictures that I found.
Much to my surprise valentine cards started way back in the middle ages and usually the suiter would sing their valentine to their prospective love. Then around the 1500's is when the paper valentine cards started appearing in Europe. Valentine cards were especially popular in England and people started officially giving each other cards on February 14.Charles II of Sweden is credited with the language of flowers, a poetical art that started around the eighteenth century. A form of floral dictionaries were published with several different meanings for several different flowers. The red rose was quickly associated with love and so the bouquet of red roses started to be a tradition for giving on Valentine's Day.
Valentines cards in America started around 1723. They started to call them "writers" which was actually just a booklet that contained special versus or religious sayings that people would copy to pretty paper. Men would give a girl a valentine card that said would you be my valentine with a special message inside and then the girl would return a yes or no. Some of the religious cards contained the "Sacred Heart'along with an angel, this could have been the start of the heart with cupid on valentine cards.
During the victoran era is when the most beautiful cards started appearing. They were little works of art and people would take great pains to make a card that was usually made on embossed paper with lace, and honeycombed tissue, watercolors, paper puffs, and colored inks. These types of valentine cards were the most unusual and they are pretty much non existent today. There are several that are still in museums and such but it was in 1909 that valentine cards were mass produced, but they still remained beautiful and lovely compared to the valentine cards of today. I think that the Valentine's of today are nice but they just do not have that look that I love so much.
An interesting point about Victorian etiquette suggests that it was improper for a woman to give a man a valentine card.
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