Valentine's Day History


Valentine's Day, history, love, romance, chocolate, St. Valentine, Chaucer



Valentine's Day, history, love, romance, chocolate, St. Valentine, Chaucer





St. Valentine, we hardly knew you. Considering there were two different St. Valentines during the Roman era, no wonder there is confusion about who he really was and why he became associated with love.


Valentine's Day, history, love, romance, chocolate, St. Valentine, ChaucerGeoffrey Chaucer was one of the first to recognize, in writing, the connection between the Roman mystery man and romance. In his poem, Parliament of Foules, written in 1382, he writes

For this was Saint Valentine’s Day
When every bird cometh there to choose his mate.

It’s not exactly greeting card material, but it is one of the first written records of the day being associated with love.

After Chaucer waxed poetic about the day, others got in the game, creating little poems and cards to give to their sweethearts. The oldest surviving example is in the British Museum. It is a love poem from 1477 and you can see and read about it here http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/642175.stm

Later, in the 15th century, Charles Duke of Orleans would offer a little ditty to his wife and further cement the connection between love and Valentine’s Day

I am already sick of love,
My very gentle Valentine

You can practically see Charles coming home from a hard day of oppressing peasants with a box of chocolates tucked under his arm to give to the little wife. However, the only chocolate available at the time was a bitter version of hot chocolate introduced to Europe from South America by the Conquistadors.

Valentine's Day, history, love, romance, chocolate, St. Valentine, ChaucerRomantic men all over the western world would have to wait another three hundred years before the little heart-shaped boxes went on sale. In the mid-1800’s, Richard Cadbury invented a way to mix chocolate and cocoa butter to make a sweeter, more edible chocolate. To sell his new creation, he offered them in fancy boxes and the Victorians snapped them up. Whether chocolate shops put them out the day after Christmas is still open to historical debate.

Valentine's Day, history, love, romance, chocolate, St. Valentine, Chaucer
Along with these new-fangled chocolates, Victorians exchanged homemade Valentine’s Day cards. It wasn’t until an enterprising American woman, Esther Howland came on the scene that mass produced cards became available. Esther had started making cards by hand, but when demand for her designs outpaced her production abilities, she began manufacturing them in bulk. Now, husbands all across America and Britain could panic and rush to the store to by a mass produced sentiment to go along with their heart shaped boxes.

If you are interested in the history of love, you will enjoy my books because they are love stories that take place in history. www.Georgie-Lee.com

25 comments:

Linda Roy said...

Ha! Poor men. Another manufactured holiday. Loved reading about its more more "heart" felt origins. And now do you know what I saw at the grocery store yesterday? Easter baskets and egg coloring kits. Ugh! Not yet!

Georgie Lee said...

I remember seeing some Easter and Valentines stuff in stores in December. It is sooooo wrong.

Linda said...

Thanks for the history and for visiting me!
Happy Valentine's Day! Hope you get chocolates. :-)
Linda at Beautiful Ideas

Brittnei Washington said...

I've come to really appreciate your posts because I always learn something about history when I read them! I did find out maybe about a year ago about where Cupid came from and I decided I didn't really like the idea of putting Tammuz on my decorations since his original intent was to spew darts or penises at people. Some things come from very different schools of thoughts and religions and we end up putting our own take on it here in the states as you are well aware of. :) I hold true to what things originally mean often times and my family makes decisions on what we will do or how we will celebrate from that. So nice to have you back on Countdown in Style! Don't forget to stop by Friday to see if you are featured! xo

Georgie Lee said...

Thanks Brittnei. I'm glad you're enjoying the posts as much as I enjoy writing them. It is amazing how things change through time and how we change them and mold them. Sometimes the original origins are shocking or surprising.

April @ 100lb Countdown said...

Love your history lessons. When I was in school, I hated history and would tune out (even though I did very well in the class). Thanks for sharing and linking up with Countdown in Style! Don't forget to come back on Friday to see if you were featured!

~~April~~
100lbCountdown.com

TaMara Sloan said...

I loved learning about the history of Valentines. While I do celebrate Valentine's Day, I find it sad that we need to set aside a special day to let people know we love them. We should do that every day. Thanks for sharing at Tales of a Pee Dee Mama.

Sarah Honey said...

Thanks for the history lesson! It's great to read all about Valentine's Day! Thank you for sharing on Whatever Wednesday on Thank You Honey!

Debbie Tom said...

Thank you so much for linking up with the Fantastic Friday link up :)

Karen said...

How interesting! I pride myself on being informed, but I didn't know all this... at all! Oh, St. Valentine, we hardly knew ye! ;)

I just found you on the blog hop and am so glad I did! You have an amazing blog and I'm now following! I can't wait to read more!
Hoping you'll stop by and say hi sometime
wanderlust-wishlist.blogspot.com

Stacey Gannett said...

What a wonderful post! I definitely like the fun historical tidbits! Thanks so much for sharing at This Momma's Meandering Mondays! Have a great week!

Angel Allen said...

Thanks for the interesting history on Valentine's Day. It's one of my favorite holidays as I always get a gift card instead of chocolates. Thanks for linking up with us at Wake Up Wednesday Linky Party.

Angel

I am following you via GFC, Pinterest & Twitter.

Tina at Mommynificent.com said...

What a fun history lesson you've shared here! I always enjoy your tongue-in-cheek humor! Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday!
Tina

Becka M said...

Thank you for the lesson! I never really knew or even thought about looking up why we celebrate valentine's day but I'm glad to know more now. Visiting from the Wakeup Wed Linky!! :) Nice to meet you!

Michelle Williams said...

I love this! I've never even reaaaaaaaaally thought about it. Glad I know now! :) Thanks for linking up with us at the MaMade Blog Hop! Don't forget to stop back to link up again next week and see if you've been featured! Have a great weekend :)

Mrs.AOK said...

Thanks for sharing :) I always learn something new when I visit you… thank you!
XOXO

Cynthia Landrie said...

This was so interesting. Big shoutout to Richard Cadbury for the chocolate! Thanks for linking to the In and Out of the Kitchen Link Party. Hope to see you next week.

Cascia Talbert said...

Very interesting! Thanks for linking up for Wordless Wednesday. Have a fantastic week!

Julie's Lifestyle said...

Thanks for sharing this interesting info about Valentines Day with us at Cooking and Crafting with J & J!
Wishing you a Happy Valentines Day.

Jessica Pelasky said...

What great info! Love this!

Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

The Forever Joyful Homeschool said...

Thanks for sharing this detailed history with our #LMMLinkup community.

Erin Vincent said...

A great history lesson on the origins and evolution of Valentine's Day! Thank You! #ThisIsHowWeRoll

Marissa D said...

Wonderful break down of the history. Thank you for sharing with #TheCozyReadingSpot

Nicole Small said...

I love these history lessons. Thanks for linking up to the Country Fair Blog Party this month!

Janice Wald said...

HI,
I teach history.
Thank you for bringing your post to the Blogger's Pit Stop last week.
Janice, Pit Stop Crew