Everyone, at some point of their lives, have already received a greeting card. Whether it is personalized or something bought from the book store, everyone had that one fleeting and moving experience of reading a greeting card filled with love and so much inspiration.
But have you ever wondered when the greeting card started? And how does people communicate and get their message across through writing back then? Knowing that the advancement of printing technology was not theirs yet? Well here’s the story to satisfy your curiosity.
It all started from the Chinese when they find the need to exchange messages of good will to celebrate the New Year. It was followed shortly by the early Egyptians, who used papyrus scrolls to have their message sent across.
The 14th century marks the great spread of the card practice to communicate in many parts of the world. Handmade paper cards were already reported to being exchanged in Europe as early as the early 1400s. In addition, the first to print New Year’s greetings from woodcuts were credited to the Germans.
From the early to mid-1400s, handmade paper Valentines gained an unexceptional popularity having the oldest Valentine card in existence displayed in the British Museum.
By the 1850s, all thanks to the advancement in printing technology, the card had been transformed from a relatively expensive, handmade gift to a popular and affordable one.
Now, greeting cards are not only popular during New Year’s and Valentines. It is also used in every occasion like Christmas, Birthdays, Anniversary and the likes. The first Christmas card was said to be published in London on 1843 when Sir Henry Cole hired artist John Calcott Horsley to design a holiday card. Meanwhile, it was in the 1860s when companies like Marcus Ward & Co, Goodall and Charles Bennett pioneered the mass production of greeting cards.
Nowadays there are already many companies offering many kinds of greeting cards available in the market. Each have executed their own scheme to stand out from the rest. We now have humorous greeting cards, recycled paper greeting cards, enormously huge greeting and musical cards.
We also have virtual cards that are now available along with the boom of the world wide web. These cards are engineered with program codes and normally take the Flash format. It is oftentimes filled with animated figures, glittery text and a very witty message. These electronic cards or e-cards for short are greatly loved by people who are computer-savvy and surf the internet often.
Despite the evolution of greeting cards, one cannot deny the priceless value that a handmade card has. Although it is the cheapest, many people would still prefer this one at any given time because of the effort that the sender must have spend in making it and the emotions that such personalized card could evoke.