• Keeping Friends

Valentine’s Day: Also a day for friends

Published: February 12, 2008 | Last Updated: May 25, 2020 By | Reply Continue Reading

The first hand-made Valentine’s Day cards in the 1800s weren’t intended only for lovers. They celebrated affection between friends and relatives as well. The card shown expresses such a sentiment inside:

Friendship. Friendship, how dear thy name, How pure thy transports are, Blessed, fair, unsullied flame, Be thou my leading star.

It’s designer was Esther Howland. One of the pioneers of the greeting card industry in the US, Howland 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 turning them into lacy cards. She advertised in the Worcester, Massachusetts paper, The Daily Spy, in 1850, and 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 Hallmark has an ecumenical Valentine’s Day card with a cover that reads “Friendship is Forever.” The message inside:

Romance fades, chocolates grow stale, but friendship is forever. Happy Valentine’s Day.

On February 14th, people in Finland celebrate Ystävänpäivä, 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.

Admittedly, the day has been over-commercialized but it still remains a fitting day to express love and appreciation to the important people in our life—which, of course, includes our friends.

With love to my dear husband, son, and friends
In memory to my Dad who died on Valentine’s Day, 2006

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