Did you know that Valentines Day is the one of the most grossed holidays financially? It is expected for 135 million Americans to drop $26 billion alone on Valentines Day in 2023.

History of Valentines Day

It is believed that Valentine’s Day started in Ancient Rome as a pagan fertility festival called Lupercalia. This festival included the sacrificing of animals and the whipping of women with the animal skins until they bled. This signified their fertility. That doesn’t sound very romantic, does it?

When Did it Become About Love and Romance?

In the 1300’s the holiday became Christianized, meaning no more animal sacrifices. The date of February 14th was selected, as many believed that birds started their mating season this day. The doves which are associated with the day are often represented as love.

Where did the name Valentine’s Day come from?

Even though history says there were about two or three Valentine’s, the most common founder of the holiday is Saint Valentine. He is memorable as he defied Emperor Claudius II by illegally marrying couples until he was caught. Claudius banned marriage, as he believed it distracted the young soldiers. Valentine was sentenced to his death, but young couples would still come to visit him and give him flowers and cards. It is believed he died on February 14th.

First Valentine’s Sent

The first Valentine’s were sent around the 15th century. It was not until the 17th century that people started exchanging card and letters. The mass production of Valentine’s card didn’t start until the 1840’s.

Americans send 141 million Valentine’s Day Cards each year

More cards are sent on Valentine’s Day than any other day except for Christmas (but that’s an entire season.) Teachers receive the most Valentine’s Day cards each year.

Flowers Top the Chart for Valentine’s Gifts

Not surprisingly, flowers are the most popular valentine’s gift. Over 220 million roses get sent on Valentines Day. The next most popular gift is chocolate and in third place is jewelry.

In 1868 the First Heart-Shaped Box of chocolates hit the shelves

Every year more than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolates are sold for Valentine’s Day. That equates to 58 million pounds of chocolate.

Lace Becomes Associated with Valentine Hearts

Romantic notions conjure up items like lace that have become synonymous with Valentine’s Day. Have you ever thought about why lace is associated to Valentine hearts? The word lace comes from the Latin word lacques, which means to snare or to net, as in “Catch a person’s heart.”

Man’s Best Friend Receives Valentines Too!

We all know how much pet owners love their dogs so it should come as no surprise that 9 million Americans will buy gifts or cards for their dogs.

Conversation heart candies were first invented and manufactured by Necco in 1866.

These little heart shaped candies have 45 sayings like “True Love,” “Hug Me,” and “You Rock”.  Every year they add 10 new sayings and now there is an option to customize your candy saying.

More than 8 billion conversation hearts are manufactured each year

Necco has to start making these conversational hearts just a few days after Valentine’s day to ensure they have enough to meet demand for the next year’s February 14th holiday. They manufacture around 100.000 pounds of the little hearts every day.

Other Countries that celebrate Valentine’s Day

In addition to the U.S., Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Denmark, Italy and Japan.

Variety in Valentine Celebrations

Not all countries celebrate Valentine’s Day and not every country celebrates it the same way. Take Japan for example; In Japan, it’s customary for just the women to give candy or sweet confections to the men in their lives, with the quality of the chocolate indicating their true feelings.

The history of Valentine’s Day comes from a dark rooted past and has changed into something about love and romance and is an easy way to profit when you are in the business of gifts.

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Feb 14 23
Christina Zumwalt
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