February is the month we celebrate romantic love on February 14. Just as Charles Dickens gave us many of our Christmas traditions, the Victorians gave us many Valentine traditions. The Victorians made Valentine’s Day the holiday of romantic love that we still celebrate today.
What traditions did the Victorians celebrate?
Victorians popularized giving chocolates to a loved one on Valentine’s Day. Often the chocolates were sent in a reusable decorative box that could be used later to hold love letters from a special “someone.”
Until the early 1900s when cards began to be mass produced, Victorian women usually made their own Valentine cards with lace, colored foil paper, cutout flowers, cherubs, and perhaps a poem. Each card was unique and personalized with the sender’s sentiments. Now we purchase our Valentine cards, but the tradition of sending sentimental cards to a loved one continues.
And we can’t forget red roses. In Victorian times, floral bouquets delivered a message, since each flower had a specific meaning. To Victorians, red roses depicted love. They often gave a bouquet of red roses to their special romantic interest on Valentine’s Day. Even today, red roses symbolize love and are a popular flower on this special day that commemorates romantic love.
So three of our Valentine’s Day traditions—the giving of chocolates, romantic cards, and red roses—have been around for over a hundred years.