Valentine's Day Festival is celebrated with joy and enthusiasm in France. People take opportunity of the occasion and express love to people close through them. Just as in several other countries people in France exchange Valentine's Day greetings through cards, fresh flowers and gifts of love.
History of Valentine's Day Festival has a strong association with France. It is said that during the Middle Ages, there was a popular belief in France and England that birds began to mate halfway through the second month of the year. For this reason lovers saw the day special and considered it auspicious to exchange love letters and tokens of love on Valentine's Day. During fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, French and English poets and litterateurs too stressed on this idea and created a romantic image of the day in the minds of the people.
Valentine's Day Cards too are said to have originated in France. A young Frenchman, Charles, Duke of Orleans is said to have written the first written Valentine's Day Cards. The Duke who was captured at the Battle of Agincourt in 1415 is said to have written a poem or ‘Valentine' to his wife while imprisonment in the Tower of London.
People in France once followed a peculiar Valentine's Day custom called “drawing for”. Unmarried young and old people would go into houses facing each other and begin calling out across from one window to another and pair off with their chosen partner. If the young man failed to be particularly enthralled with his valentine, he would desert her. A bonfire would be lit later where ladies would burn images of their ungrateful lovers and hurl abuses at them. The ritual was eventually abandoned as it left much room for nastiness and ridicule. French government handed-down a decree and officially banned the custom.
There was also a custom in France to exchange elegant cards containing tender messages called cartes d'amities. These were not essentially Valentine and resulted chiefly due a trend popular in England.