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Free Lesson Plans for Teachers > Free School Lesson Plans > Free Lesson Plans for Elementary School > Free School Lesson Plans for Grade 3-5 > The History of Valentine's Day

The History of Valentine's Day

Did you know that more than one billion Valentine’s Day cards are given in the United States every year?  Of those, teachers get the most Valentine’s Day cards of anyone; children get the second most.

No doubt that kids LOVE Valentines Day and bringing this fun holiday to your class can be a delightful learning experience.  There is a mysterious universal appeal to Valentines Day that causes millions of people around the world to exchange tokens of affection each year on February 14.

So how did these Valentines Day traditions begin and who is St. Valentine?  With a little bit of searching, I found that is a fantastic resource to uncover some of the mystery about this annual holiday.  Here are some interesting facts that we found:

*Legend has it that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome and was ordered to be put to death when he continued to perform marriages after Emperor Claudius II had outlawed it (so men would be better soldiers)

*Another legend says that Valentine fell in love with the daughter of one of his jailers while in prison and actually sent the first “valentine” greeting to her before his death- a love letter signed “From your Valentine,”

*Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages (written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400), and the oldest known Valentine card is on display at the British Museum.

*Valentine’s Day as we now know it began to be popularly celebrated around the seventeenth century in Great Britain.

*The first commercial Valentine’s Day greeting cards produced in the U.S. were created in the 1840s by Esther A. Howland. Howland, known as the Mother of the Valentine, made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap.”