Was Valentine's Day Created by the Greeting Card People?
Valentine’s Day, also called St. Valentine’s Day is the holiday when lovers express their affection with romantic cards and gifts, and others condemn it as a holiday made up by the greeting card companies. While we here at WAA love advertising, Valentine’s Day and advertising go hand and hand have been shaped throughout history.
The holiday itself has origins in the Roman festival of Lupercalia, held in mid-February. The festival celebrated the coming of spring, fertility rites, and the pairing of women with men by lottery. At the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius I replaced the Lupercalia festival with what we recognize today as St. Valentine’s Day. Love is among the greatest muses, inspiring the world’s most famous romantics like Chilean poet Pablo Neruda, and author William Shakespeare who wrote 154 love sonnets. The work of these authors, poets and playwrights speaks to the enduring power of love across the ages, as well as the modern day advertising marketplace. Especially during Valentine's Day season, the words of these famous writers left a staying power in how we perceive the modern Valentine’s Day card. As some are heartfelt:
“Love is composed of a single soul inhabiting two bodies” -Aristotle
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage” -Lao Tzu
“If I had a flower for every time, I thought of you … I could walk through my garden forever” –Alfred Tennyson
While some are a bit more comical:
"Marry. If you get a good wife, you will be happy. If you get a bad one, you'll become a philosopher" -Socrates
“Gravitation is not responsible for people falling in love” - Albert Einstein
“Before you marry a person, you should first make them use a computer with slow internet to see who they really are” -Will Ferrell
The first time we see the modern day Valentine’s Day card is by Hallmark founder J.C. Hall, who began selling Valentine’s Day postcards in 1910. As postcards declined in popularity, Hallmark added greeting cards to its line in 1912. The company’s first Valentine’s Day cards appeared on store shelves in 1916. Although J.C Hall hadn't created Valentine's Day, and if you want my opinion, Valentine’s Day and Hallmark are a match made in a free marketed heaven- Advertising Cowboy Reynaldo Mayans
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