St. Valentine according to ancient history was an early Christian martyr, executed on February 14th and established as a Saint by Pope Gelasius in 500AD. This was deleted from the Roman Calendar of Saints in 1969, but it has traditionally been a day when lovers expressed their affection for one another. Since the 19th century hand-written Valentine Cards have given way to mass produced greetings cards. By the second half of the 20th century all manner of gifts were being exchanged and now this practice has extended to the internet where an estimated 15 Million e-Valentines were sent in 2010.
Whatever the thoughts behind the commercialism of Valentines Day, it has traditionally been one of romance and courtship, and this is highlighted by Leo Cheney’s (1878-1928) excellent cartoon from the early 1920’s.
MURIEL: "Before I consent to marry you, Archie, I must ask you one thing.
Do you ---- er ---- drink anything ?"
ARCHIE: (proudly). "Anything."