Story: Love and romance

Valentine's Day, 1876

Valentine's Day, 1876

Valentine's Day generated this editorial in the North Otago Times on 14 February 1876. It suggests that the exchange of commercially produced Valentine's Day cards was already well established in the colony by the 1870s. The custom of young women and men choosing a valentine, or a special loving friend, on a particular day in February was linked to the name of an early Christian martyr, Valentine. Valentine's Day was incorporated into the rituals of courtly love in the 14th and 15th centuries, and flourished again in the 19th century, when commercial printing of cards democratised the celebration of Valentine's Day. The practice of sending a card (ideally anonymously) to someone you love, inviting them to be your valentine, was brought to New Zealand by British settlers.

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National Library of New Zealand, Papers Past
Reference: North Otago Times, 14 February, 1876, p. 2

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How to cite this page:

Rosemary Du Plessis, 'Love and romance - Pākehā love stories', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 3 October 2023)

Story by Rosemary Du Plessis, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 1 May 2017