14 February 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

I am always amazed at how the original history and reasons we do things simply become lost in tradition, and Valentine's Day is yet another example. The history to it includes the saints named Valentine, and a day of feasting for two of them. Eventually it became a day for lovers to express themselves to each other, and thus we have the traditions of flowers and cards and candy.

I find it very interesting to note that while hand written notes were the tradition going into the 1900s, it was in the middle of the 1900's that the printed card industry took over the holiday, and has continued to become increasingly commercial. It also spread to include any loved ones, including parents and children. This starts to resemble what we know today. I found this clip from Wikipedia...

"Since the 19th century, handwritten notes have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.[5] The mid-19th century Valentine's Day trade was a harbinger of further commercialized holidays in the United States to follow.[43]
In the second half of the 20th century, the practice of exchanging cards was extended to all manner of gifts in the United States. Such gifts typically include roses and chocolates packed in a red satin, heart-shaped box. In the 1980s, the diamond industry began to promote Valentine's Day as an occasion for giving jewelry.
The U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately 190 million valentines are sent each year in the US. Half of those valentines are given to family members other than husband or wife, usually to children. When you include the valentine-exchange cards made in school activities the figure goes up to 1 billion, and teachers become the people receiving the most valentines.[37] In some North American elementary schools, children decorate classrooms, exchange cards, and are given sweets. The greeting cards of these students sometimes mention what they appreciate about each other.
The rise of Internet popularity at the turn of the millennium is creating new traditions. Millions of people use, every year, digital means of creating and sending Valentine's Day greeting messages such as e-cardslove coupons or printable greeting cards. An estimated 15 million e-valentines were sent in 2010."

Wow! We certainly do know how to spend money, don't we? What ever happened to the heart felt expression of love between two lovers? 

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