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Valentine's Day


Saint Valentine's Day or Valentine's Day falls on February 14. It is the traditional day on which lovers express their love for each other by sending Valentine's cards, often anonymously. The holiday is named after two men, both Christian martyrs named Valentine. The day became associated with romantic love in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished.

The day is now most closely associated with the mutual exchange of love notes in the form of "valentines". Modern Valentine symbols include the heart-shaped outline and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten notes have largely given way to mass-produced greeting cards. The Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately one billion valentines are sent each year worldwide, making the day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year behind Christmas. The association estimates that women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.

In the United States, the marketing of Valentine's Day has tagged it as a "Hallmark holiday".

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Valentine's Day Card


The Valentine's Day Card

Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, when lovers said or sang their Valentines. Written Valentines began to appear after 1400. The oldest Valentine in existence was made in the 1400's and is in the British Museum. Paper Valentines were exchanged in Europe where they were given in place of valentine gifts. Paper Valentines, which gave rise to modern Valentine's Day cards, were especially popular in England.

In the early 1800's, Valentine's Day cards began to be assembled in factories. Early manufactured Valentine's Day cards were black and white pictures painted by workers in a factory. Fancy Valentines were made with real lace and ribbons, with paper lace introduced in the mid 1800's. By the end of the 1800's, Valentine's Day cards were being made entirely by machine.

In the early 1870's, Esther Howland, an American printer and artist, was among the first to publish and sell Valentine's Day cards in the United States. In the early 1900's a card company named Norcross became one of the first companies to manufacture Valentine's Day cards in the US. With the exception of Christmastime, Americans exchange more Valentine's Day cards than in any other time of year.



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