• Keeping Friends

Valentine’s Day 2017: Not just for lovers

Published: February 14, 2017 | Last Updated: February 12, 2023 By | 2 Replies Continue Reading
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Street art in Bologna, Italy

Street art in Bologna, Italy

Happy Valentine’s Day!

When February rolls around, I usually remind readers (and myself) that the holiday isn’t only a celebration of romantic love but also of love between friends. Did you know that the very first handmade Valentine’s Day cards in the 1800s weren’t intended for lovers? Instead, they celebrated affection between friends and relatives?

Way back then, a woman named Esther Howland, one of the pioneers of the greeting card industry in the U.S., was charmed by an ornate English Valentine she received from a friend. So she began a business of importing lace and floral decorations from England and turned them into fancy Valentine cards.

In 1850, she decided to advertise them in the Worcester, Massachusetts newspaper, The Daily Spy. Her business grew so quickly that she had to enlist friends in an assembly-line operation to meet the demand. Her sales are reported to have exceeded $100,000, a handy sum at the time for a female entrepreneur.

Even today, people in Finland celebrate Ystävänpäivä on February 14th, which is translated as Friend’s Day. In Mexico, it is called the Día del amor y la amistad, the day of love and friendship.

Valentine’s Day among girlfriends

I recently penned a post for the website Storia about Galentine’s Day, a holiday created by comedian and writer Amy Pohler (in the same vein as Seinfeld’s Festivus) on her sitcom, Parks and Recreation. The article includes five suggestions for celebrating with girlfriends.

Amy Pohler

Amy Pohler

Another post from the Today Show mentions how singles are redefining Valentine’s Day to make it more inclusive of friendships

Admittedly, the day has been over-commercialized in the U.S. but it still remains a fitting time to express love and appreciation, in whatever way we choose, to the important people in our lives—which, of course, includes our friends. Perhaps, it’s a good thing that perfunctory Valentine’s Day greeting cards are less in style.

Is there someone who touched your heart this year? It’s not too late to tell them so.

I want to personally thank everyone who visits this blog to better understand and work out the kinks that invariably occur in friendships, and also those who give of their hearts with advice and support.

Happy Valentine’s Day 2017!

*Some interesting Valentine’s Day facts from the History Channel.

N.B. This post is an update to one that originally appeared on the blog in 2009. It is dedicated to my Dad who died on Valentine’s Day 2006. Ever since that day, Valentine’s Day has been bittersweet for me.

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Comments (2)

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  1. CIndy La Ferle says:

    Happy Valentine’s Day, Irene! Thanks for your friendship and fantastic guidance. I so appreciate you.

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