Expressing one’s affection to another is a celebrated custom on Valentine’s Day. Sweethearts and family members present gifts to one another, such as cards, candy, flowers and other symbols of affection. Opinions differ as to who was the original Valentine, but the most popular theory is that he was a clergyman who was executed for secretly marrying couples in ancient Rome.
In A.D. 496, Pope Gelasius I declared Feb. 14 as Valentine’s Day. Esther Howland, a native of Massachusetts, is given credit for selling the first mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards in the 1840s. The custon continues today with even young children exchanging Valentine’s Day cards with their fellow classmates.