Lots of Cards and The Legend of Saint Valentine
It’s a cold February day here at The Storage Inn in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey. One of our storage space tenants, Mrs Ragnoli, just stopped in to the office for some boxes and bubble wrap, but before she left, she said, “ Don’t forget to buy your wife roses – you know Tuesday is Valentine’s Day!”. “She’s right“ I thought – “ I also need to make a dinner reservation”.
Speaking of Valentine’s Day I recently read that approximately 150 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine’s Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas,.This made me think. “ What is this holiday really about other than roses, cards, and chocolates? And what size self storage space would hold 150 million greeting cards?”
The Man, the Myth, the Legend
I checked it out and found that the history of Saint Valentine’s Day is shrouded in mystery. Who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with a holiday that celebrates love? One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl, possibly his jailer’s daughter, who visited him during his confinement. It’s alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today.
At the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius declared February 14th St. Valentine’s Day. It was not until much later, however, that the day became definitively associated with love. During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14th was the beginning of the mating season for birds, which added to the idea that Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance.Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400.
Love American Style
Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated around the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters .
Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures. Today, according to the Greeting Card Association,Valentine’s Day is the second largest card-sending holiday and women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.
Storing 150 Million Valentine’s Day Cards
This is certainly an approximation because there is a wide variety of card sizes and shapes, but if a customer wanted to store 150 million cards that were 4 x 6 inches and printed on 100lb cardstock (.011 inches thickness x 2 sides) it would take about 45,833 cubic feet. To put that into perspective, we would need about 46 storage units that were 10 foot tall x 10 foot wide x 10 foot deep. That’s a lot of cards!
So there you have it – Valentine’s day is about buying cards and eating Chocolate! – Just kidding! It’s actually about Love and Romance and Taking the Time to tell your special somebody that you care. Happy Valentines Day to All from the staff at The Storage Inn!