Valentine’s Day has a rich history. From its humble beginnings as a Roman fertility festival to legends about St. Valentine himself, the developments that have survived the test of time shape our modern-day celebrations. One of those things has been the tradition of giving chocolates for Valentine’s Day, but chocolate, card giving, and roses have long historical roots.
The Beginnings of Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day was first associated with love and romance during medieval times because the mating season of birds was believed to have begun on February 14th. During the Middle Ages, the first valentine was thought to have been sent by Charles, the Duke of Orleans, to his wife in 1415.
The tradition of sending handwritten love notes reached the United States in the mid-1800s. A woman named Esther Howland began making and selling sweet love cards adorned with ribbons and lace, which over time, led to the commercial Valentine’s Day card industry. Now you can buy a card that is already printed with almost any kind of sentiment to tell your sweetheart how you feel.
How Valentine’s Day Evolved
While the Victorian Era is popular for many things including industrialization, literature, and gothic horror, it was also the starting place for chocolate and roses gifts on Valentine’s Day. Men began to give roses to the women they were wooing and chocolate was given a permanent home with the holiday.
In 1824, John Cadbury opened the Cadbury Chocolate Company in Birmingham, England, but it was his son, Richard, who in the 1860s had the inspiration to package the chocolates in heart-shaped boxes to improve sales. This first box of Valentine’s Day chocolates made history and sparked the sale of over 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolates yearly. Today we wouldn’t dream of not giving our girlfriends, boyfriends, spouses, or even closest friends the creamy richness of decadent chocolates to express our love, admiration, and even our hopes for future romance or marriage.What’s the most popular piece in the heart-shaped box of chocolates? The chocolate covered caramels! You can find those and more, including chocolate mint sandwiches, chocolate covered cookies, and other time-honored specialty chocolates at Fernwood Candy. Visit one of our retail stores or shop online today to find a truly special handmade gourmet gift for your sweetheart.