This pink and red day filled with love makes some people wince knowing that this might be another holiday celebrating love spent alone. Although this is a possibility, the origins of Valentine’s Day are not as lovey-dovey as we experience today.
Originally the Roman culture celebrated this holiday to honor the goddess of fertility. While the priest ran around town snapping pieces of loincloths at their wives or random women on the streets, the belief was that those women were now fertile. The day got its name from a priest that was believed to be sending love letters to a woman he was not supposed to be in contact with. Due to his name, Valentine, and his love letters, the day-dreamy qualities of the holiday began to take place. Like many other holidays, Valentine’s Day has evolved over time. For the modernized, commercial-driven, chocolate-explosion holiday we celebrate in America, the first valentine, of course, had to be invented.
Although I do not have a special someone to share this day with, sending valentines to people you love and care about is something I genuinely cherish. Love does not need to be restricted to just one day, but it is extremely exciting when it is capitalized on and covered in pink glitter. The first commercialized Valentine cards were produced in the 1700s, decorated in hearts, Cupid figures and lace. The style of Valentine cards today has generally continued in the same styling and decorations of previous years.
Besides cards, Valentine’s Day isn’t complete without chocolate! The first company to create chocolate confectionery boxes was Cadbury. An already famous company, their venture to design boxes their treats would come in only added to the layer of appeal. There was no direct connection of Valentine’s Day themed chocolate boxed to Cadbury, but they were one of the first to do box decorations. Doing that then led to Valentine’s artistry and designs we see today. The boxes of chocolate during the Victorian era could have doubled as jewelry boxes due to their ornate decoration and use of genuine materials. The craftsmanship done for each individual box is not the norm for what we buy our loved ones today–our symbols of affection have turned into a cheesy, sweet display of love. As we continue to pass through our years with Valentine’s Days to come, the sweetness of chocolate or the kindness of a card does not compare to the gift it is to show someone love when they might need it most.
Photo credits: Huffpost