9 Facts That Will
Impress Your Valentine!

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Story told by Fr. David Convertino, Jan 27 2020

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1. It wasn’t always associated with love and romance.

Historians believe Valentine’s Day began in Ancient Rome as a celebration dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture. Although it was associated with some dark roots, it officially became a holiday in the 1300’s when it was believed that birds paired couples in mid-February. In 496 AD Pope Gelasius marked February 14th as a celebration in honor of St. Valentine’s martyrdom.

2. Today, Valentine’s Day is a BIG business

About 55% of Americans celebrate Valentine’s Day and spend an estimated $19.6 billion a year, including more than $1.8 billion on candy alone. The average man spends $130 on Valentine’s Day, while women spend about $70! Sorry men, it looks like you’ll be spending twice as much this year!

3. Nearly 6 million couples get engaged on Valentine’s Day.

Valentine’s Day is one of the popular days to pop the question, with as many as 9 million couples getting engaged on February 14th. While only 48% of Americans think that proposing on Valentine’s Day is actually romantic.

4. An Estimated $145 Million

$145 Million is the amount spent by Americans on Valentine Cards alone each year! This makes it the second biggest holiday for exchanging greeting cards, after Christmas. In fact, teachers receive the most Valentine’s Day cards annually, followed by children, mothers, and wives.

2. Hallmark was not the first…

It was as early as the 17th century that people started exchanging handwritten cards expressing their love. However, it was not until 1840 that a woman named Esther A. Howland mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards in the United States at New England Valentine Co. They were said to be cards with embossed paper lace. Esther made $100,000 in annual revenues, earning the title “Mother of the American Valentine.”

4. Are Furry Friends the New Valentines?

From toys to treats, people are expected to spend $886 million on their furry Valentines this year, according to the National Retail Federation. One in five people buy Valentine’s Day gifts for their pets, and almost half admit they cuddle with their dog more than their partner! Oh my!

5. The Origins of That Heart-Shaped Box

The heart-shaped box was first created by Richard Cadbury, son of Cadbury founder John Cadbury. They started packaging chocolates in upscale boxes to increase candy sales. In February of 1861 Cadbury first introduced the heart-shaped box of chocolates, and today, more than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolates are sold each year. That’s 58 million pounds of chocolate!

6. Candy hearts were originally medical lozenges

In 1847, Boston pharmacist Oliver Chase invented a machine that simplified the lozenge production process, resulting in the first candy-making machine, according to The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America. In 1866 his brother, Daniel Chase, developed a machine that could press food dye letters onto the candy. After discovering this opportunity, which would revolutionize the candy industry, Daniel Chase shifted his focus to candy production with Necco wafers. Did you know Necco stands for New England Confectionery Company?

9. Before you buy that bouquet…

Roses are the flower of love, and the favorite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess. Back in the Victorian era, people expressed their emotions through “floriography”, or the language of flowers. Giving a certain kind of flower conveyed a specific message, and red roses meant romance. If you plan to order a bouquet, have it tied in lace. The word “lace” comes from the Latin laques, meaning “to snare or net,” as in to catch a person’s heart.