Chaucer, Love Birds, and the Middle Ages
The first time in the history of Valentines Day that love and lovers are actually associated with the day is during the Middle Ages in a poem by Geoffrey Chaucer. After the famous writer mentioned the two love birds that represented the engagement of the young king Richard II to his young bride to be, Anne of Bohemia.
After this first association of love in the history of Valentines Day, the idea quickly grew popular. By the 17th century, it had become custom for young lovers to exchange small tokens and hand written love notes with each other. By the 18th century, greeting cards began to be commercially produced just for the holiday; and by the middle of the 19th century, retailers began offering special gifts for young men to present to the ladies they were suiting.
Although the history of Valentines Day isn't necessarily as romantic as we are led to believe, the fact remains that it has become one of the most popular, and commercially profitable, holidays ever. Today, men often present their wives and girlfriends with chocolates, flowers, and cards; and the day has come to be associated with the highest number of marriage proposals than any other. One fact remains true regardless of the actual history of Valentines Day - and that is the fact that this is the one day of the year when people feel the most able to express their feelings of affection for one another.
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