Monday, February 9, 2009

Folklore - Valentines' Day

By Michele Ann Young

Despite our association with this as a Victorian Celebration the day became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished (and possibly before that).

Despite the holiday's mysterious and puzzling roots, it is obvious that people have observed St. Valentine’s Day for centuries. The famed London diarist Samuel Pepys mentioned observances of the day in the mid-1600s, complete with elaborate gift giving among the wealthier members of society.

It seems that the writing of special notes and letters for Valentine’s Day gained widespread popularity in the 1700s. At that time the romantic missives would have been handwritten, on ordinary writing paper.

Papers made especially for Valentine greetings did not appear until the 1820s.