Love is in the air! Can you feel it? Every February 14, Valentine’s Day rolls around and we find ourselves caught up in the excitement of candy, flowers, cards and hearts of red, white and pink.

So who is your valentine this year? If you’re like most kids, you probably have lots of them. Parents, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, neighbors, teachers and all sorts of friends at school — they can all be your valentines!

Saint Valentine’s Day — usually shortened to simply Valentine’s Day — is a yearly celebration of love and affection. The holiday was named after one or more early Christian saints named Valentine or Valentinus.

The history of Valentine’s Day is somewhat mysterious and uncertain. As the holiday developed over hundreds of years, its celebration evolved out of a mixture of Christian tradition, ancient Roman rituals and the customs of Victorian England.

One of the traditions most children look forward to today involves the sending of messages to loved ones, usually in the form of small greeting cards commonly called “valentines.” The history of these brief messages of love is as mysterious as the holiday itself.

One legend holds that an early Christian saint named Valentine sent the first “valentine” message. While imprisoned, Valentine fell in love with the jailor’s daughter, who would visit him often. Before his death, he wrote her a love letter, which he signed “From your Valentine.”

As far back as the Middle Ages, valentine messages were popular. Way back then, though, most messages were spoken — or sung — in person. Written valentines didn’t become popular until the early 15th century.

The oldest valentine still in existence is from 1415. It is a poem written by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London after he was captured at the Battle of Agincourt during the Hundred Years’ War. Charles’ valentine is part of the British Library’s collection of old manuscripts in London, England.

Over the next few hundred years, written valentine notes grew more popular as Valentine’s Day grew in popularity throughout Europe. By the early 1800s, handwritten notes began to be replaced by mass-produced greeting cards made in factories.

As early as the 1840s, Esther A. Howland — known as the “Mother of the Valentine” — began to sell the first mass-produced valentines in the United States. She was also known for making fancy valentines featuring real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures.

Today, valentines are still big business. Americans exchange more cards on Valentine’s Day than at any other time of year except for Christmas. The Greeting Card Association estimates that over one billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year!

 

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    • We don’t know for sure, Hunter, but that sounds like a really good guess! We’ll all have to check Wonderopolis tomorrow to see if you were right! :-)

    • Hello, Jocelyn! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts about Valentine’s Day! We’re happy you’re our Wonder Friend and we hope you have a great day! :-)

    • We’re so glad you stopped by Wonderopolis today and learned something new about Valentine’s Day, Barbara! Thank you for leaving us a comment to let us know! :-)

  1. I love Valentine’s Day because it is full of love and compassion. I also love Valentine’s Day because it was started by Christians and Christians ROCK!!!!!!!

  2. Happy Valentine’s Day Wonderopolis!

    We made our own WONDERS about Valentine’s Day yesterday. We learned some of the answers on your “wonder” today. We are excited to answer the rest of our questions later today.

    For Valentine’s Day, our class is going to decorate bags, exchange Valentines and have a Sundae Party! Yum! Wish you could join us!

    • We think it’s AWESOME that you made your own Wonders about Valentine’s Day, Mrs. Phillips’ WONDERful Class! We love hearing about our Wonder Friends WONDERing on their own!

      We wish we could join you for all your fun today and for your yummy sundae party, too! Be careful not to get any ice cream headaches (past Wonder #92 – Why Do You Get Ice Cream Headaches? http://wonderopolis.org/wonder/why-do-you-get-ice-cream-headaches/). Happy WONDERing! :-)

    • Happy Valentine’s Day to you, too, Lilith! We appreciate your comment and hope you had some fun visiting Wonderopolis today! :-)

  3. I agree with Jesse, WONDERopolis, you’re my valentine!!! :)
    I think tomorrow’s wonder is about stunt doubles! Do you have any WONDERs about Isaac Newton, Harry Potter or Abraham Lincoln? Please comment back!
    P.S What’s your favorite book? My all time favorite is Harry Potter so far, but all books are good to me! BYE!!!!!!

    • Awww, thank you for the Valentine’s Day wishes, Zoe! You’re a WONDERful Wonder Friend! We hope you have a happy day today, too! :-)

    • Thank you so much for your comment, Chela! We wish you a very happy Valentine’s Day, as well! :-)

      For our Wonder Friends who might read this comment and don’t know how to speak Spanish, our Wonder Friend, Chela, said, “Happy Valentine’s Day from Mexico City!” It’s so fun to learn new things and to meet Wonder Friends from different places in the world! :-)

    • That’s a GREAT question, Chela! Now we WONDER about “x” and “o,” too! You might just see your question as a future Wonder of the Day® some day soon! :-)

      For our Wonder Friends who don’t speak Spanish: “Besos y abrazos desde México” means “Kisses and hugs from Mexico!” Thank you so much for teaching us about your language, Chela! :-)

    • That’s a really good question, Mr. P! We think when people like Valentine and the Duke of Orleans were imprisoned, they knew they would be kept away from their sweethearts. That must have made their love grow stronger and they were inspired to write their famous love notes! Please tell Mr. Spain’s class that we think THEY ROCK for WONDERing more about Valentine’s Day! :-)

  4. Dear wonderopolis, happy valentine’s day. I have a few secret crushes!!!!!!!!!! I love valentine’s day. My class is having a valentine’s party! I love one of my secret crushes…they are cute!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • We think you’re so nice for wishing us a happy Valentine’s Day, Kaitlyn! We also think class parties are so fun, especially today! You get to read all the funny, cute, sweet cards your friends and classmates give you, plus you get to snack on some SWEET treats! :-)

    • We think Valentine’s Day can be super fun for EVERYONE, Erik! You don’t have to be in love to have a great time today…you can share your smile with everyone you see, plus you get to tell your friends and family how much they mean to you! Thank you for being a GREAT Wonder Friend! :-)

    • We’re super sorry to hear about your grandma, Tanoria. Thank you for sharing your special memory of her with your friends in Wonderopolis today. We know it can be really difficult to lose a loved one, and holidays can be extra tough. Sometimes when we’re sad about something, it really helps to talk to a teacher or parent. We hope you will do that today if you need to share your feelings. We’re super glad you stopped by today’s Wonder of the Day®!

    • That’s a REALLY good reason to like Valentine’s Day, Jordyn! There are LOTS of chocolates and candies being shared today! :-)

  5. Dear wonderopolis, I want to tell you HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY! I love today’s wonder about v-day. I have a valentine, but he is at san felipe. I hope you have a good day. Byeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. We thought today’s video was funny! We think she will need to hand deliver the valentine! Thanks for the valentine facts!

    • Hello, Mrs. Alaniz’s Class! It makes us super happy to know that you guys explored today’s Wonder together and that you learned some new facts about Valentine’s Day! We agree with you about the girl in the video…that was one BIG valentine! :-)

    • Thank you for sharing your valentine with us today, Ashlyn! We have LOTS of valentines…all of our AWESOME Wonder Friends (like you!)! Happy Valentine’s Day! :-)

  7. Hello wonderopolis, I really love your website and believe it is filled with all the beautiful things needed to teach me and my friends. Thank you and have a great valentine’s day!

    • Thanks for all the NICE things you said in your comment today, William! We hope you have a GREAT Valentine’s Day, too! :-)

  8. I have a valentine, her name is Lelia. She is my girlfriend and this post taught me how this day wasn’t just about getting free candy. I have a new respect for v-day.

    • Hi, Joshua! Thank you for telling us about your valentine, Lelia! We’re glad you learned some new things about Valentine’s Day by visiting this Wonder…GREAT JOB! :-)

    • We’re happy you stopped by this Wonder of the Day®, Malinda! Thank you for letting us know you were here by leaving us this super comment! :-)

    • We hope you had a GREAT Valentine’s Day, Eric! That’s a really good guess about firefighters. We’ll have to check the next Wonder of the Day® to see if your guess was correct! :-)

    • Hello, Crazy123! Thanks for guessing what you think the next Wonder will be about! We hope you’re right…we’d love to learn more about firetrucks! :-)

  9. I had the best valentines day ever! I came home from school and my mom was watching Breaking Dawn part 1 and I was so mad when the movie ended, but it was a good movie. P.S. I LOVE wonderopolis.

    • You have LOTS of valentines, Hannah! A valentine doesn’t always have to mean a boyfriend or girlfriend. It can mean ANYONE you care about and love! There are many Wonder Friends who count their moms, dads, sisters, brothers, best friends, cousins, and even their pets as valentines! :-)

  10. Thanks for telling me that you have lots of valentines in your life and yes, one of them is me, and guess what? I spent it alone, not with Adam, and he blew me off for his friends and that made me mad.

    • We’re sorry to hear about that, Ashlyn! We hope you’ll turn that frown upside down, though, when you remember that you have LOTS of friends, family and even folks here in Wonderopolis who think YOU ROCK! We hope you had a GREAT day today! :-)

  11. wonderopolis,
    Cool wonder! I gave valentines to every person in my class and to more people who aren’t in my class. I agree with Paige that tomorrow’s wonder is about bugs.
    Izzie

    • Hello, Isabella! Thanks for sharing your comment with us and also for telling us what you did on Valentine’s Day! We think it’s so nice that you gave valentines to so many people! You’re AWESOME! :-)

    • That’s really sweet, Kym! We appreciate that you and your Kerrick classmates visit Wonderopolis and always leave us such AWESOME comments! :-)

  12. My Valentine is wonderopolis because we visit wonderopolis EVERY DAY, sometimes not on the weekends. I LOVE WONDEROPOLIS. WE SPENT $ ON OUR VALENTINES. MY TEACHER, MRS. Phillips, is the wonder teacher. Who else is the wonder teacher? Have a great DAY!

    • Thank you for leaving us such a WONDERful comment, Kelly! We really like hearing that you and your classmates visit Wonderopolis every day…Mrs. Phillips ROCKS! It’s true, she’s an AWESOME Wonder Teacher! She is part of a WONDERful team of Wonder Friend Leaders from all over the United States that also includes: Mr. Fines from Montana, Mrs. Brasdis-Nixon from Virginia, Mrs. Nichols from California, Mrs. Caplin from Ohio and Mrs. Edwards from North Carolina! :-)

    • It’s a WONDERful day, isn’t it, Jade? Thanks so much for leaving us this comment to let us know you visited Wonderopolis today! :-)

  13. I was just looking for interesting wonders and there I saw ‘Who is your valentine?’ Never thought you did a wonder about Valentine’s Day (my favorite day :) ). LOVE IS IN THE AIR!!!!

    • We have a special place in our heart for Cupid, too, Athenamarie! We are glad you found our Valentine’s Day Wonder! Thank you for sharing your comments with us– we LOVE to Wonder with you! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • Who is your valentine?
  • How old is the oldest valentine still in existence today?
  • How many valentines are sent each year?

Wonder Gallery

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Try It Out

Ready to make someone’s day extra special? You may have already purchased or made Valentine’s Day cards for your classmates, but what about friends and neighbors?

Do you have friends or neighbors who live alone or far away from family? Do you know someone who could simply use cheering up?

You can make someone’s day extra special by making a homemade Valentine’s Day card. If you’re feeling extra crafty, you could also try one of these fun Valentine’s Day crafts:

 

Still Wondering

Explore ReadWriteThink’s Shape Poems activity to challenge children to create a poem based upon the shape of a heart!

 

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Join us tomorrow for an all-new Wonder that will have you jumping out of planes and putting out fires!

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