Valentine’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. I love the cards, hearts, flowers and, yes, the chocolates. I relish being able to share my feelings with those I care about, but I must confess, I didn’t really know that much about Valentine’s Day. The solution? A bit of digging on the Internet.
I’d like to share what I found out.
1.People aren’t totally sure how Valentine’s Day originated. It may have its origins in the pagan celebration of … Lupercalia. Although the details of which gods were actually honored during this holiday are sketchy, the celebration centered around a cave called The Lupercal, where, as legend states, a wolf nursed Romulus and Remus, the twins who founded Rome. This holiday took place from February 14-16 and seemed to have several rituals, including a naked run, that were supposed to increase fertility.
2. Some experts believe February 14th is the day that birds choose their mates.
3. Probably the most widely held belief about Valentine’s Day is that during the 3rd century, Emperor Claudius II forbid his soldiers to marry, apparently believing that men without families fought better. A priest named Valentine disagreed and began to perform secret weddings for soldiers. Emperor Claudius found out and Valentine was executed.
4. However, an exact answer of who Valentine might have been is lost in history. Several saints who possess the name of Valentine were martyred and are recognized by the Catholic Church.
5. Ever wonder where the expression “Wearing your heart on your sleeve” comes from? In the Middle Ages, on Valentine’s Day, young people would put their names in a bowl. A person of the opposite sex would reach into the bowl, pluck a name and pin it to his or her sleeve. (That is, if they liked that person.) In that manner, they were claiming the person as their Valentine. I guess the modern-day equivalent may be the Facebook application: “Are you interested (in me)?” Or it may be something else. Please Facebook fans, let me know.
6. After Christmas, Valentine’s Day is the holiday where the greatest number of cards are exchanged. One billion – that’s billion, not million -- are sent in the United States alone.
7. Who receives the most Valentines? It’s not children and it’s not sweethearts. Teachers receive the most, according to one source -- followed by children, mothers, wives and then sweethearts.
8. Who sold the nation’s first mass-produced valentine cards? It was Esther Howland who lived in Massachusetts in the 1840s.
9-13. How do most people celebrate Valentine’s Day? According to the Hallmark/Retail Industry Leaders Association/NRF and the U. S. Census Bureau, the most popular activities are: Sending greeting cards, having a date night, buying candy, purchasing flowers, giving a gift card, and presenting a plush animal/ heart/ pillow to your sweetheart.
So, how are you planning on celebrating Valentine’s Day? Are you doing anything special? I’d love to hear about it.
Sources and Excellent Sites for Valentine’s Information
http://www.history.com/content/valentine/history-of-valentine-s-day (This is my favorite. It has a Dating Through Time quiz which I failed, but enjoyed and all sorts of other fun things such as love letters from a president, and many video clips about Valentine’s Day.)
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