Will you be my Valentine?

By Polina Vezhan

Good morning to you, valentine;
Curl your locks as I do mine.
Two before and three behind.
Good morning to you, valentine.

Valentine verse

The variety of the cards on sale today is incredible: cards for singles, for gays, sex bodies, proposal-intenders, romantic, funny cards and even DIY cards. But our ancestors were not that spoilt with an assortment. What is more, all cards have been rather written by hand.

The first written valentine is traditionally attributed to the imprisoned Charles, Duke of Orleans. It is said young Duke passed his time by writing romantic verses for his wife while confined in the Tower of London in 1415. Nearly sixty of his poems can be seen in the British Museum. They are credited with being the first modern day valentines.

However the first mention of the word Valentine in the English language can be found in a letter written by Margery Brews to her betrothed John Paston in the middle of 15th century. She had been pleading with him not to give her up, despite her parents’ refusal to increase her dowry. They ended up married. So her Valentine letter has definitely worked.

The tradition to exchange cards and gifts on 14th of February become widespread in England by the 17th century. And of course contemporary Valentines are much more difficult to be wooed. That is why people getting more and more obsessed with buying by the time of the love celebration.

Dawid, who is managing a Scribbler card shop on Hammersmith, says that an unusual item is more likely to be swept from the shop window long time before the 14th of February comes: ”People are fighting for the cards – one person claims it belongs to him, another one argues he was the first one to grab it. It is a real bedlam”. But he also says he always looks forward to this time as business is always up these days before the 14th of Feb.

According to Dawid, even though the recession stopped people from buying expensive gifts, cards are still the must. He says people are happy to spend money on it as they respect the traditions: “It is quite normal when a customer spend about 200 pounds in one go buying so many of them. I must admit people are quite amorous nowadays”

Whereismylondon team has decided to be a DIY one and has already produced at least one Valentine’s card today. If you do not relay on your own talent please make you way to the nearest card shop right now.

Photo credit: Polina Vezhan
Super card credit: Polina Vezhan

Published in: on February 14, 2011 at 6:39 pm  Comments (2)  
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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I recognise the man in that card you made 😉

  2. I wish he appreciated this..P.

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