Although a Christian bishop named Valentine was martyred on February 14 in A.D. 269, there is nothing in his legend to account for the custom of choosing a sweetheart on this day.
In medieval England, people believed that birds mated at about this time, and farmers knew that “winter’s back breaks” by the middle of February.
By the early 1600s, it was a popular custom to send handmade valentines to your sweetheart, and in about 1800, the first commercial cards appeared. Cards were usually sent anonymously. An English official reported having to hire extra postal workers to handle all of the mail on this day in 1822.
Nobody knows exactly why chocolate has become the food of choice for many people on Valentine’s Day, February 14. At the Almanac, we eat it all year long!
1500s: Handmade valentines were customarily being sent from admirers to sweethearts.
1521: Spanish explorer Hernando Cortés tasted cacao, liked it, and called it chocolatl because he had difficulty pronouncing its Aztec name, xocolatl.
1800s: The first commercial valentine cards appeared. Cards were usually sent anonymously.
1822: An English official reported having to hire extra postal workers to handle the increased volume of mail on February 14.
1847: The first solid chocolate candy bar was made in England.
1848: Esther Howland of Worcester, Massachusetts, started selling high-quality valentine cards that became so popular that she became known as the Mother of the American Valentine.
1876: The first milk chocolate candy appeared.
1890s: The first confection-filled, heart-shape, ornately decorated boxes (or “caskets”) were created by English chocolatier Richard Cadbury.
Just FYI. Hugs everyone!