THE tradition of expressing love and affection through cards and gifts on Valentine’s Day has lasted through the ages.
In Victorian England, a popular way to express love for one another was to exchange handwritten notes on this day.
Valentine’s Day cards, as we know them today, were first mass-produced in America in the mid-1800s.
These Valentine’s Day cards were delicate, ornate, handcrafted tokens of love created by artist and businesswoman, Esther A Howland.
The cards featured elaborately-cut paper, often resembling lace, interlaid with rich colours and images of primroses or lovers in Victorian dress.
After the success of her first batch of cards, she founded the New England Valentine Company in 1840.
The company enjoyed unprecedented success until Howland retired in 1881.
The company was purchased by George C Whitney, who had an existing stationery business.
It ultimately closed down at the start of World War 2, due to rations on paper at the time.
After the war, Valentine’s Day became more commercialised in the US and the rest of the world.
Small gifts such as chocolates, flowers and teddy bears became popular accompaniments to a simple card.
We can, however, still embrace the handcrafted appeal of these gifts and messages to loved ones on Valentine’s Day. Something made with care, love and individual creativity, keeps tradition very much alive.