BY LISA MARIE BASILE
Valentine's Day is thought to stem from Lupercalia, a Pre-Roman Pagan festival celebrated between February 13-15 (can we please get back to three days of V-Day?), and so the gauche, commercial excess was not the point. Lupercalia, to the Pagans, was a time for thwarting evil spirits and cleansing the space of its negativity. On this day, because how darling, it is said that the birds chose their mates.
In 14th-century England and France, poems became the primary Valentine's Day (please see Geoffrey Chacer's The Love Unfeigned, a 14th-century poem not specifically written 'for' Valentines, but romantic nonetheless; let us know if you can translate that better than we can). The poem became common again in the 18th century, and especially in the Victorian Era, when sentimentality reached its abslolute peak and V-Day's commercial value heightened. Embossed, lace, ribbons, floral patterns and deliciously ornate designs were the norm. #swoon
And then we got our filthy modern hands on history.
If, like us, you're sick to death of paying $4.95 for a contemporary, soulless, Teddy Bear V-Day card from Duane Reade, we've compiled a few of our favorite printable Victorian Valentine's Day cards. Our recommendation? Print these out, make yourself your own Valentine and create a little Victorian shrine for yourself. Or your lover. Whatever you'd like.
Just click the image to download the print, and if you want more, you can click into each photo and peruse the sites, which will allow you to either download more prints or send a physical Valentine to someone. (We still recommend sending yourself some love in the mail.)
And so, here are a few images (along with a few naughty Victorian bits) for you to swoon over.