A Very, Very Short History of V-Day

By Mary Jane Fischer

469 A.D. – The most romantic day of the year all started in Rome, as a Pagan festival celebrating fertility. According to History.com, at the festival, followers would gather at a cave and sacrifice a

Photo by Kyle Searer

goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. Sexy. Pope Gelasius eventually decided it was time to convert the celebration into a Christian festival, and changed the date from February 15th to the 14th.

Middle Ages – History.com tells us it was commonly believed by citizens in France and England that February 14th marked the day that the mating season for birds commences. There seems to be little to no information on why citizens at this time felt a need to assign a specific date for the commencement of bird mating season.

1415 – The first valentine was a poem written by love guru, Charles, Duke of Orleans, according to serenataflowers.com. He wrote it to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. Swoon.

1840 – According to History.com, Esther Howland (A.K.A. The Mother of Valentine’s Day) made the first mass produced Valentine’s Day Card, complete with frills, bows, lace – the whole she-bang.

1890 – “Vinegar Valentines” became all the rage. These notes were snarky and vulgar and were anonymously sent to unwanted Valentines. Brandistry.com put together a color swatch that was popular for valentines at the time, featuring various shades of brown. What a dark time to be in love.

19th C. – Chocolate became a big player in the Valentine’s Day hype because doctors during this time often prescribed it to soothe people and calm their emotions, according to serenetaflowers.com.

1915 – Hallmark created its first line of Valentine’s Day cards the game was forever changed.

Today – Galentine’s Day – an anti-Valentine’s Day celebration, to be held with a group of your girlfriends. Really, it’s just an excuse to drink a lot of wine and complain about boys, which doesn’t differ much from my usual routine, but now it’s validated.


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