Valentine’s Day: Religious origin, tradition or modern marketing?

Old Valentine Greetingcard from 1887Valentine’s Day is celebrated in many countries around the world, and more in some than in others. It is associated with lovers expressing their love to each other through cards, gifts and romantic dates.

The day got its name from two of the many Early Christian martyrs called Valentine. One theory from Belarus is telling the story of of Saint Valentine, who upon rejection by his mistress was so heartbroken that he took a knife to his chest and sent her his still-beating heart as a token of his undying love for her. Thankfully we since moved on to more light-hearted (sorry about the pun!) means of expressing our love.

The tradition of sending Valentine cards – the one shown here dates from 1887 – started in 1840 in the US, but it must have been popular in England before that. It is estimated that around 1 billion Valentine cards are sent worlwide each year, making it the second largest day for greeting cards after Christmas. And Gentlemen: about 85 percent of them are sent by women – so this is your chance to rectify this imbalance!
So the short answer to the above question is: Yes! Valentine’s Day has a religious origin, is a tradition and has been developed into a commercially viable holiday!

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