Evolution Into Our Modern Holiday: The holiday is supposedly named after the 3rd Century Catholic Priest St. Valentine. There are many legends about the Saint and most scholars believe his overall legend stems from more than one man. The most common origin story today is about Saint Valentine defying Roman Emperor Claudius II. At the time of Valentine’s life, many Romans were converting to Christianity, but the Emperor was a pagan and created strict laws about what Christians were allowed to do. Claudius believed that Roman soldiers should be completely devoted to Rome and therefore passed a law preventing them from marrying. St Valentine began to marry these soldiers in secret Christian ceremonies and this was the beginning of his reputation for believing in the importance of love. He was eventually found out and sentenced to death. Legend holds that while in prison, he cured the blindness of his jailor’s daughter.

Evolution Into Our Modern Holiday: At the end of the 5th century, the Catholic church outlawed Lupercalia and declared February 14 St. Valentine’s day. The day was his supposed execution date in the year 270. During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance. Valentine’s Day greetings show up as early as the 1400’s. The earliest known valentine still in existence is believed to be a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. Today’s cliche Valentine’s Day poem – Roses are red, Violets are blue, etc. – stems from a collection of English nursery rhymes called Gammer Gurton’s Garland, printed in 1784.

The “X” – Many believe the “X” symbol became synonymous with the kiss in medieval times. People who couldn’t write their names signed in front of a witness with an X. The X was then kissed to show their sincerity.

Valentine’s Day In The U.S.: American’s are thought to have begun exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. The commercialization of the holiday, however, is credited to Esther A. Howland, who created the first mass-produced valentines in America in the 1840s. Known as the “Mother of the Valentine”, her creations were made from ribbons, lace and colorful pictures with romantic overtones.

Wear Your Heart On Your Sleeve: In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who would be their Valentine. They would wear this name pinned onto their sleeves for one week for everyone to see. This was the origin of the expression “to wear your heart on your sleeve.”

Roman Catholic Revisions: In the 1969 revision of the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints, the feast day of Saint Valentine on February 14 was removed from the General Roman Calendar and relegated to particular (local or even national) calendars for the following reason: “Though the memorial of Saint Valentine is ancient, it is left to particular calendars, since, apart from his name, nothing is known of Saint Valentine except that he was buried on the Via Flaminia on February 14.

What About The Flowers: 73 percent of people who buy flowers on this day are men, 27 percent are women. Interestingly, it is estimated that 15 percent of U.S. women send themselves flowers on Valentine’s Day. Almost 200 million stems of roses are sold in the U.S. on this day. Red is the favorite color. It was written that the red rose was the favorite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love.

Cards Are King: About 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year. This makes it the second largest seasonal card sending time of the year. Over 50 percent of all Valentine’s Day cards are purchased in the six days prior to the holiday, making Valentine’s Day a procrastinator’s delight.

Who Gets The Most Valentines? Children receive 39 percent of all Valentine’s Day candy and gifts. Following them are wives/mothers (36 percent), fathers/husbands (6 percent), grandparents (3 percent), and pets (1 percent).

O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Every Valentine’s Day, the Italian city of Verona, where Shakespeare’s lovers Romeo and Juliet lived, receives about 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet.

Wedding Proposals: Reports estimate around 225,000 wedding proposals happen on Valentine’s Day each year in the U.S.

A Box Of Chocolates: Richard Cadbury produced the first box of chocolates for this holiday in the 1800s. In 1822, John Cadbury opened a tea and coffee shop in Birmingham, England. He soon expanded into chocolate manufacturing, and in 1861 his son Richard greatly increased sales by packaging Cadbury chocolates in the world’s first heart shaped candy box for Valentine’s Day.Today over +$1 billion worth of chocolate is purchased on this romantic day in the U.S. alone. I should also note, more than 35 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate will be sold in the U.S.
Today over +$1 billion worth of chocolate is purchased on this romantic day in the U.S. alone. I should also note, more than 35 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate will be sold in the U.S.

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