Soon many people will be exchanging cards, candy, gifts, or flowers with their special “valentine.” Why do we do that?

Valentine’s Day is named for a Christian martyr Saint Valentine a real priest who lived in 270 A.D. and provided Christians with sacraments outlawed by the Roman Empire such as marriage and ended up in prison.

Saint Valentine is said to have cut hearts from parchment, giving them to the soldiers and persecuted Christians to “remind them of God’s love and to encourage them to remain faithful Christians.”

On the evening before his execution, he wrote the first “valentine” addressed to the daughter of his jailer and signed the greeting “Your Valentine.” And thus began our custom of giving cards and reminders to loved ones on February 14th.

The Greeting Card Association estimates as much as $933 million will be spent on cards and gifts this year. One billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year.

Esther A. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” used “scrap” to make elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons, and colorful pictures. The American Antiquarian Society in Worcester holds a large collection of her valentines.

I have a personal ephemera postcard collection. While not as elaborate as Ms. Howland’s, I love the way these cards speak of romance.

If you don’t want to spend money on cards or have the time to make a card. You can always express your love with these “signs” from Signing Savvy, the online American Sign Language Dictionary.

Moi, I’m not shy about romance or telling the ones I love how much I love them on this special day. My Valentine cards are in the mail.