From the time the custom of observing Saint Valentine's day began, it has grown, and now this gift day is almost a holiday. It is celebrated in the social world by gatherings and in the trade world by a great variety of pretty tokens, offered for personal gifts. And so Saint Valentine is not forgotten, though so many hundred years have passed since his death.
It would be impossible to tell how the custom of honoring Saint Valentine will change in the next hundred years. Today you see the shops decked out with pretty tokens, satin trifles and all sorts of sweet-smelling gifts. There are verse books written also for the day, and the windows are filled with trifles, costly and otherwise. The etiquette of a Saint Valentine gift has changed somewhat in the last 1000 years.
At the beginning of the ninth century a Valentine was a proposal of marriage, and consisted of a herd of cattle for the very wealthy swain and a slain sheep for the poor one. Lovers in the warm countries sent gifts of wine, and in the orient they sent perfumes, for there is no country to which the fame of Saint Valentine has not traveled.
The most popular gift today is a figure picture. There is no handsomer token that a box upon which a pretty girl stands, with arms out stretched, juggling hearts and money bags. In looking upon her Valentine's gifts, the maiden of Valentine's day, 1898, cannot do better than pick a moral from the fame of Saint Valentine. He chose love as his theme, and lives forever in the heart, while unworthy Croesus and his wealthy Roman associates, who looked upon gold, not wisely but too greedily, are held afar off as objects of scorn. —Harry Germaine, 1898
Etiquette Enthusiast, Maura J Graber, is the Site Moderator and Editor for the Etiquipedia©Etiquette Encyclopedia