Every February 14th, in many places around the world, cards, flowers and gifts are exchanged between loved ones. Why? Well there are many notions, and you’ll likely get a different story depending on who you speak to and where you are around the world.
The history of Valentine’s Day and the story of its patron saint is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains remnants of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition.
The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus. One legend suggests that Valentine was a priest who served in Rome during the third century. During this time, Emperor Claudius II noted that single men were far better soldiers than those with families and so outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, not agreeing with the ruling, disobeyed Claudius and in secret married young lovers.
According to another legend, an imprisoned Valentine sent the first “valentine” card, after he fell in love with a young girl who visited him during his incarceration. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression still in use today.
During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14th was the beginning of the bird mating season, adding to the idea that the middle of February should be a day for romance.
Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. This unfortunately has negative impacts on the environment and can cause more damage than you would think.
All the wasted paper and products purchased and consumed on Valentine’s Day causes more carbon dioxide emissions than driving around the entire world almost 4,000 times. So we ask you to think before buying that card, those flowers and/or gifts, and find alternative sustainable ways to gift a loved one. Luxury, vintage accessories from Open for Vintage allow you to give a gift of unique quality whilst making a conscious and sustainable impact on the planet.
For gift ideas, visit our carefully curated vintage Valentine's gifts page for some truly unique inspiration.