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History of Valentine's Day Greetings

If you are an avid celebrant of Valentine's Day, you must be quite familar with "valentine"s, those beautiful greeing cards that you send to your loved ones? Go through this well-researched article to find out how and when "valentine"s originated and why greeting cards are sent during Valentine's Day. If you enjoy reading about the history of Valentine's Day Greetings, click here to refer this page to your friends and dear ones. Wish you a happy Valentine's Day!

Valentine's Day. The name conjures before our eyes a series of images, of chocolates, cakes, flowers, gifts and yes....greeting cards, a must for the occassion. It would not be wrong to say that the day of love is also a day for cards. According to a recent estimation by the Greeting Card Association in the U.S., about one billion valentines are being exchanged every year around the world.

The association of greeting cards with Valentine's Day is a long one, though it can safely be said that the concept and use of greeting cards did not begin with this occassion. Historians believe that the custom of greeting cards originated in the Egyptian tradition of exchanging new year wishes through messages written on small papyrus strips. The tradition is also supposed to have been existent in Greece as well as in China.

The type of greeting card that we know as "valentine" and send on Valentine's Day is actually a modern version of the message of love that began with Valentine, a kindly priest living in Rome around 200 A.D. It was the time when the great Roman Empire was nearing its end and was facing hostilities from its neighbouring states. The sovereign of Rome, Emperor Claudius II, needed to strengthen the defence of his nation. This monarch was of the opinion that married men made weak soldiers as the thought of returning home always hindered them from fighting tooth and nail and putting their lives at risk. This prompted him to issue an edict forbidding marriage. The young men and women of Rome were distraught at the news for this meant they could in no way be united to those they loved. But the sympathetic priest Valentine came to the rescue of young Romans and began to secretly get them married following all scriptural norms. When this information reached the emperor, he immediately put Valentine in prison and soon ordered his execution.

While awaiting his sentence in prison, Valentine is said to have restored the sight of the jailor's daughter through his supposed healing powers. This earned him the friendship of the jailor Asterius as well as his daughter. Shortly before his death, Valentine is believed to have asked for a pen and paper from his jailor, and wrote a farewell message to Asterius' daughter, signing it as "From Your Valentine," a phrase that lived ever after.

When the Roman Empire crumbled, the people hailed Valentine as saint and established "Valentine's Day", a holiday that would hence be observed annually as a mark of respect to their loving priest. It became an occassion to celebrate love and a time for sweethearts to exchange handwritten notes of love came to be known as "Valentine", a name possibly drawn from the signature of Valentine's last letter to Asterius' daughter.

By the early 13th century, handmade paper greeting cards were being exchanged in various parts of Europe. The first recorded instance of "Valentine" is attributed to Charles, the young French Duke of Orleans who was imprisoned for many years in the Tower of London after his defeat in the battle of Agincourt in 1415 and wrote long rhymed letters of love to his wife in France during his captivity. About sixty of these remain and have been preserved among the royal papers in the British Museum.

Writing love notes became a common practice by the 17th century, with people making their own valentines out of paper and writing their own poems or using copied verses of love on them. Items such as lace, silks, satins, feathers and even flowers began to be used to embellish these handcrafted love cards.

When printers came in use, cards with romantic verses and sketches began to be produced albeit these were limited in number. However, these were smaller and costlier than the handmade cards which were oversized but economical and elaborate.

By the 18th century, the custom of sending valentines had become quite popular in England with many of the cards featuring cupids and hearts, two of the most famous Valentine's Day symbols today. The tradition slowly spread to the American colonies.

The early 1840s witnessed the commercial production of Valentine's Day greeting cards in the U.S. The first American Valentine's Day greeting cards were created by Esther A. Howlanda Mount Holyoke, a graduate and native of Worcester, Mass.. Howland made elaborate "Valentine" cards with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as "scrap". It was only with Howland's mass production of the Valentine cards that the custom gained popularity in the United States. Because of this she is regarded as the "Mother of the Valentine".

With the introduction of the postage stamp in 1840, the production of greeting cards grew immensely as it became easier to send these. It also helped establish the custom of sending anonymous messages or cards to those one admired. The advancement in printing methods around the same time helped in the mass production of greeting cards.

Today, the "Valentine" is a highly popular way of expressing love to your sweetheart. In the U.S., it forms 25% of the total number of greeting cards exchanged annually. This further affirms the ever growing popularity of the "Valentine"s.

The rise of computers and mobile devices has even made it possible to send a "Valentine" via electronic means. That appropriate greeting card is now only a few clicks away, with a huge number of websites such as DeepestFeelings.com providing free services to people to send Flash-based or GIF e-cards (electronic greeting cards) to the e-mail accounts of their loved ones. More recently, services have been launched to allow one to send "valentine"s to a mobile phone via text messages. Visit Cell93.com to get a feel of the mobile e-card.

Celebrate Valentine's Day with beautiful valentine cards from DeepestFeelings.com. Choose any of our lovely Valentine's Day Cards and send it out to a loved one to share with him/her the spirit of the occassion.

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