Valentine’s Day. We often celebrate the day of love with flowers and cards. According to the Society of American Florists 198 million roses were produced for Valentine’s Day in 2010. Men purchase about 75 percent of the those roses.
Most of those roses are red which is a sign of passionate love. But maybe this year you want to try purple, which says “I will always love you.”
Besides the commercialization of St. Valentine’s Day, there is some history behind the holiday. You may have thought that Valentine’s Day was a made up holiday. When you think about it, aren’t all holidays made up? Someone had to declare a certain day a holiday at some point.
Without further adieu, let’s get the celebration started. Find the one you love, sit down, and enjoy a little history for the day.
I give you 10 things you probably didn’t know about Valentine’s Day.
1. The history of Valentine’s Day may have started with the ancient Romans who celebrated the feast of Lupercalia from February 13th through the 15th. The men sacrificed a goat and a dog and then whipped women with hides. Women lined up for the whipping in hopes that it would make them fertile.
2. Emperor Claudius II executed two men in different years named Valentine. The Catholic church honored their martyrdom by celebrating St. Valentine’s Day.
3. Chaucer and Shakespeare romanticized the day making it even more popular in Britain. Handmade cards became standard gift.
4. During the Middle Ages in France and England, Feb. 14 was the beginning of bird’s mating season.
5. The oldest known valentine is from 1415. Charles, Duke of Orleans, imprisoned in the Tower of London, wrote his wife a poem. The poem is kept in the British Library in London.
6. The industrial revolution made factory bought cards available. In 1913, Hallmark started mass producing Valentine’s Day cards.
7. Today, over 150 million cards are exchanged, second only to Christmas.
8. Women purchase 85% of the cards. With men buying the majority of roses, I’d say women get the better end of the deal.
9. Besides the US and Britain, these countries also celebrate the holiday: Canada, Australia, Argentina, Mexico, France, South Korea, and the Philippines. The most popular wedding day in the Philippines is Valentine’s Day.
10. The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre’s only connection to the holiday is that it occurred on Feb. 14, 1929. Seven men from George “Bugs” Moran’s gang were gunned down on Chicago’s north side by men dressed as police officers. Police suspected rival Al Capone ordered the hit.
There is no argument that Valentine’s Day has become commercialized, but so has every other holiday. Notice the Christmas decorations going up on Halloween? Whether you celebrate Valentine’s Day or not, you now know that it’s not just a Hallmark holiday. The celebration goes back thousands of years.
I hope you enjoy your Valentine’s Day before you give up chocolate for Lent.