The Sweet History of Valentine’s Day


Anna Sturgeon, Staff writer

   Valentine’s Day is known for being the special day dedicated to hearts, chocolate, and love.  People buy sweets, cards, and presents for loved ones, but does anyone know how the day and these traditions began?  

   There are different stories about how the love holiday began.  However, St Valentine is the main character in all the legends.  The stories vary from secretly performing marriages for young couples, to breaking Christians out of jail.  They usually end with St. Valentine being beheaded or thrown in jail only to fall in love with his capture’s daughter, in much resemblance to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.  

   Each year, nearly 1,000 letters are sent to “Juliet” in Verona, Italy; the city which marks the location of Shakespeare’s play.  Once the letters get to the city, they are read and judged by the Juliet Club.  The most touching love letters are given the “Cara Giulietta”, the ‘Dear Juliet’ award and are as sweet as a box of chocolates.

   The age-old tradition of gifting a box of chocolates began in the 19th century.  A coin of a British chocolate manufacturing family, by the name of Richard Cadbury, founded the idea.  By using new techniques that were recently invented to create a variety of chocolates which Richard sold as a part of the beloved holiday.  Just as lots of people give cards signed with Xs and Os.

   Cards are often signed with Xs and Os that symbolizes hugs and kisses.  The X stands for kisses and started out as the X before the signature line on a document or decree.  The X before the line was kissed as a sign of the signer’s oath.  This was a gesture among kings and commoners which also served to certify books, letters, and paperwork.  This was described as being “sealed with a kiss”.