Was Valentine’s Day invented by greeting card companies?
Valentine’s Day was invented by greeting card companies.
The idea that Valentine’s Day, which falls on February 14th every year, was a cynical move by greeting card companies emerged with a line of dialogue in the 2004 Jim Carrey/Kate Winslet romance Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind .
“Valentine’s Day is a holiday invented by greeting card companies to make people feel like shit,” said Carrey’s character Joel. specified.
It’s a succinct line and sums up the cynicism some feel about the holiday, when people in romantic relationships often show their affection with things like flowers, cards, gifts, and candy. Undoubtedly, the holiday is a good day for card companies, along with candy makers, jewelry retailers and restaurants.
But is it true that they invented it?
The origins of Valentine’s Day are murky, but it’s safe to say that the holiday began as a day to celebrate romantic relationships long before card companies like the ones in existence today got involved. Although some point to a violent fertility festival in ancient Rome called Lupercalia as a possible origin, others note that at least two saints named Valentine were executed by the Roman Empire in the third century AD
It’s a popular one Believe that Valentine’s Day is a religious holiday centered around a saint named Valentine.
However, history professor Lisa Bitel noted that this belief does not stand up to scrutiny. She wrote in 2018 that more than 1,000 years after those executions, the romantic association with February 14 surfaced in the work of Canterbury Tales author Geoffrey Chaucer. Bitel noted:
It seems that in Chaucer’s day, English birds mated to lay eggs in February. The nature-loving European nobility soon began to send love letters during the mating season. For example, the French Duke of Orléans, who spent several years as a prisoner in the Tower of London, wrote to his wife in February 1415 that he was “already lovesick” (meaning lovesick). And he called her his “very gentle valentine.”
English audiences welcomed the idea of the pairing in February. Shakespeare’s enamored Ophelia referred to herself as Hamlet’s Valentine.
In the centuries that followed, the English and the English began using February 14th as an excuse to write verses to their love objects. Industrialization made it easier with mass-produced illustrated cards adorned with smudgy poetry. Then came Cadbury, Hershey’s and other chocolate manufacturers who marketed candy for sweethearts on Valentine’s Day.
According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, it wasn’t until In the 1700s, card vendors began selling commercially printed Valentines. “The first commercial Valentines in the United States were printed in the mid-19th century,” according to Britannica.
While it cannot be said that the holiday was “invented” by greeting card companies, mass production of cards appears to have played a key role in its popularity in the United States
Boston television station WCVB reported that the way that Valentine’s Day is celebrated today owes at least a significant part to the city of Worcester, Massachusetts, and an entrepreneur named Esther Howland. Howland “began making her first valentines with an assembly line operation in 1848. She first advertised her business in 1852.”
Examples of Howland’s handwork, included in the WCVB article, show meticulously-detailed top designs. She later merged her business with Jonathan Taft’s and formed NEVco. Hallmark didn’t appear until 1910 and the company started mass production of printed Valentine’s Day cards soon followed.
https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/valentines-day-invented-greeting-card-companies/ Was Valentine’s Day invented by greeting card companies?