Valentines Day and St Dwynwen's Day 25th January special days for Lovers
Valentine's Day Cards
Cards of Desire
Saint Valentine's Day Cards
Saint Valentine's Day goes back to Roman times but the celebration of courtship and love is much more recent. In Paris on Saint Valentine's Day, February 14th in 1400 a High Court of Love was set up to deal with contracts, betrayals, and violence against women. The jilted Lady could appeal to the court for retribution. It was useful to either sex depending upon who was the abused person.
The earliest recorded Valentine greeting was from the Duke of Orleans to his wife. The poor man was incarcerated in the Tower after carelessly getting captured at the Battle of Agincourt. It started thus:
Je suis desja d'amour tanné
Ma tres doulce Valentinée…
He appears to be asking for a spanking as I certainly never came upon d'amour tanne in my school French lessons!
Ophelia in Shakespeares “Hamlet” written in 1601 pens a slightly forward one to her love:
Tomorrow is St. Valentine's Day
All in the morning below.
And I am a maid at your window
To be your Valentine
By 1797, realizing tongue tied men and boys needed a little help in the love sonnet field, an enterprising British man published “The young Man's Valentine Writer” There is no record of how well it sold but it contained many excellent suggestions for Valentine verses so was most probably snapped up by eager, love lorn lads. There was nothing to prevent the fairer sex from purchasing the primer but again that is not recorded.
By 1800 the Valentine's day card became popular rather than hand written sonnets. They were extremely pretty being made with real lace and ribbons.
Paper Valentines became mass produced by another enterprising person, one Esther Howland who designed and mass produced beautiful paper lace Valentines in 1847. These remained a favorite through Victorian times. Valentine's cards are usually sent anonymously or with cryptic clues as to the sender.
Valentine's Day has increased in popularity with thousands of available types, even electronic ones are available and home made ones are increasing in popularity. Sexy cards have also made inroads into the market. Valentine's Day is now second only to Christmas in popularity but one can only wonder in these day of email and texting, how long this will last. As of this moment it is still a truly “Hallmark” occasion.
In Japan it has become the custom for love lorn ladies to send chocolates to their intended beau. This usually takes the form of chocolate tablets decorated with real flowers. As these retail for about $10 it doesn't cost much for said ladies to cover multiple options!
As a slightly strange footnote, Wales has its very own Saint Dwynwen ( pronounced Doynwen) who is the patron saint of Welsh lovers. Her special day is 25th January. She is also the patron saint of sick animals Well I didn't get any Dwynwen's Day cards, I wonder if I will receive any Valentines Cards this year.