Valentine’s Day

Feast Day of Saint Valentine, Patron Saint of Bees

February 14 is Valentine’s Day in the Western liturgical calendar, commemorating one or more Valentines who were martyred in the Third Century.

Originally the feast day was not associated with romantic love. But legends have embellished the festival, and by the 15th century, we have the first documented Valentine, written by the Duke of Orléans to his wife.

Je suis desja d’amour tanné
Ma tres doulce Valentinée…

The modern cliché Valentine’s Day poem can be found in the 1784 collection of English nursery rhymes.

The rose is red, the violet’s blue,
The honey’s sweet, and so are you.
Thou art my love and I am thine;
I drew thee to my Valentine:
The lot was cast and then I drew,
And Fortune said it shou’d be you.

However it is Esther Howland (1828–1904) the entrepreneurial daughter of a stationery store owner in Worcester, Massachusetts, who is the real mother of Valentines Day, or at least Valentine cards, which has become a multi-million dollar business.

There is even an Esther Howland Award for Greeting Card Visionary. But apart from the first winner Marian Heath in 2001, I find no information about the award.

What I do find is information about are the LOUIE awards given to outstanding greeting cards, invitations, and stationery sponsored by the Greeting Card Association and presented at its annual Gala and Exhibition.

You can see the 2018 winners here. The 2019 awards will be announced in late May.


By Esther Howland – Mount Holyoke College Archives and Special Collections, South Hadley, MA, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=29157198

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.