After spending the last couple of weeks printing hearts, romantic photos and Valentines messages for all you lovebirds out there, it occurred to us here at My Cupcake Toppers that we don’t really know how we came to be ordering so much red ink in February? So we took to the search engines to try and find out what all the fuss is about and came up with some interesting facts and theories about our national day of love.
Turns out no-one is really too sure how it all started but the most common story is that Valentine was a Roman bishop during the short reign of Cladius II. Claudius decided that men should not marry during wartime but Valentine rebelled and carried out secret ceremonies which earned him a prison sentence. During his stay, he healed his jailers blind daughter, Julia, before being tortured and beheaded on 14 February 269. It is said that one of the last things he did was to send Julia a letter, signing it ‘Your Valentine’.
By the time Gelasius I became pope in 492, Valentine was down in history as a Christian martyr and Gelasius declared that the 14 February would be celebrated as the feast of St Valentine. However, it wasn’t associated with love until almost a thousand years later when English poet and writer, Geoffrey Chaucer, wrote about the traditions of Valentines day. It's been argued that his accounts were purely fictional but when they were studied in the 18th century (the time of courtly love), his ideas were taken on board and people begun sending each other valentines cards and notes.
The first printed cards were available in the late 1700’s and ‘The Young Mans’ Valentine Writer’ was published around this time with suggested verses for those who couldn’t come up with their own. By the 19th century, cards were factory produced and it is documented that in 1835, 60,000 Valentines cards were sent by post in the UK. In 1868, Richard Cadbury made chocolate love official by producing the first box of Valentines chocolates and by the 1900's, swapping gifts became the norm.
The diamond industry didn’t join in till the 1980’s making jewellery a popular gift and it’s now thought that 10% of marriage proposals take place on 14 February.Today, it is estimated that the global business of Valentines day is worth up to £1.3bn annually with 35m heart shaped boxes of chocolates, 110m roses and more than 140m cards being exchanged around the world
Despite our best efforts we still can’t tell you when baking came into it and how many cupcakes are gifted each year but we’re happy to say it’s enough to keep us busy for a little bit longer. It’s not too late to order toppers from our valentines range or personalised toppers of your own if you want to mix things up with something that’s a little bit different this Valentines day.