We all associate this popular holiday with candy and flowers to show our affection to family and loved ones. Will you be celebrating February 14 exchanging heart shaped boxes of candy and cards with that special someone? Do you know when this tradition began? Here are a few interesting facts about Valentine’s day.
There were more than one St. Valentine.
We know the holiday was named after its patron saint, St. Valentine although there were two men named Valentine. One was a Roman priest in the third century who defied Emperor Claudius II’s ban on marriage, illegally marrying couples in the spirit of love until he was caught and sentenced to death. The other was killed for helping Christians escape prison in Rome. He actually sent the first “valentine” himself to the jailer’s daughter and signed it “From Your Valentine.”
It officially becomes a holiday.
By the 5th Century Pope Gelasius officially declared February 14 as St. Valentine’s Day. It wasn’t until the Middle Ages that the holiday became associated with love and romance because of the common belief that birds started mating on February 14.
How did that cute little cherub with the bow and arrow become associated with Valentine’s day? He can be traced back to 700 B.C. to the Greek god of love named Eros, who was actually a handsome, immortal man with the power to make people fall in love. The 4th Century Romans adopted Eros into the image of a cute little boy with a bow and arrow and named him Cupid. At the turn of the 19th Century, Cupid became linked to Valentine’s Day due to his match making powers.
The first mass-produced Valentines.
Americans likely started sending cards and letters to friends and lovers during the 18th Century, according to the History Channel, but it wasn’t until the 1840s that the first Valentine’s Day cards were mass produced in the U.S. by Esther A. Howland, known as the “Mother of the American Valentine.” She is credited with commercializing Valentine’s cards. She is remembered for her elaborate cards made with lace and ribbons.
Americans spend a lot on love.
Americans spent $27.4 billion on Valentine’s gifts in 2020, including $2.4 billion on candy alone! Men will spend an average of $291 compared to women who will spend $106.
Americans will send 145 million Valentine’s Day cards each year.
According to Hallmark, 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year. This makes Valentine’s Day the second biggest holiday in the greeting card business behind Christmas. Teachers receive the most Valentine’s Day cards followed by children, mothers, wives, and girlfriends.