February 14th, 2014
Today is Saint Valentine’s Day also known as the Feast of Saint Valentine, and is celebrated in most places around the world. Saint Valentine was put into prison for performing marriages for soldiers who were not allowed to marry. It wasn’t associated with romantic love until Chaucer’s time in the High Middle Ages (1000-1299).
In the 15th century, people started giving greeting cards, sweets, and flowers to the object of their affections. In the 19th century, the hand-made cards gave way to mass-produced valentines. But they all still focus on the heart shape, doves, roses, and Cupid.
Cupid was associated with Valentine’s Day because he was the son of Venus, the Roman god of love and beauty. Cupid often appears on Valentine cards and gift tokens holding a bow and arrows as he is believed to use magical arrows to arouse feelings of love. And apparently Cupid created roses by spilling nectar on his way up to Mount Olympus.
Consumers spend an average of over $75 on Valentine’s Day gifts, the most popular being chocolates, food, wine, and flowers. The greeting card association estimates that 85% of all Valentine cards are purchased by women. Men spend an average of $130 which is more than twice what women spend.
About 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged in United States each year. That’s the second largest seasonal card-sending occasion of the year after Christmas.
California produces 60 percent of American roses, but the vast number sold on Valentine’s Day in the United States are imported, mostly from South America. Of the approximately 110 million roses, the majority are red.
In Medieval times, girls ate unusual foods on St Valentine’s Day to make them dream of their future husband.
n the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who their valentines would be. They would wear these names on their sleeves for one week. To wear your heart on your sleeve now means that it is easy for other people to know how you are feeling
About 3% of pet owners will give Valentine’s Day gifts to their pets.
In Japan, men receive more valentines chocolate than women. – Japan is not the only country that does this. In Korea, girls buy gifts for guys and then one month later, guys return the favor by buying gifts for girls.
It was King Henry VIII of England who declared this day a national holiday. Ironically he also beheaded a few of his wives.
On February 14th wooden love spoons were carved and given as gifts on Valentine’s Day in Wales. Hearts, keys and keyholes were favorite Valentine decorations on the wooden spoons. This Valentine decoration meant, “You unlock my heart!”
Will you be our Valentine?