“I Love You”

Antique_Valentine_1909_01The month of February has a lot to offer, President’s Day-slightly longer days than January- the occasional snow day-but most people regard February as the dreaded month with the holiday that reminds them they are single, or forces them to spend outrageous amounts of money at a restaurant with a set menu. Why do we celebrate loved ones in February? Why on the 14th? Most importantly, why do we give them sickeningly delicious candy hearts that say “I Love You” on them? Valentine’s Day did not start out a celebration between those in love. The Romans held a fertility festival in mid February plumcrazycalled Lupercalia in which young nobles would run down the streets naked and shouting. Some women would purposefully get in their way for hopes of a smooth delivery if pregnant or a pregnancy if not pregnant. When the Romans converted to Christianity the festival was changed to Valentines Day to commemorate St. Valentine. There were quite a few St. Valentines and no one knows for sure which St. Valentine lends his name to the holiday. Everyone’s favorite Valentine’s Day story is that a priest, named Valentine, married young couples in secret during a marriage ban put in place by Emperor Claudius II. Emperor Claudius believed single men would be more dedicated to the army and fight til the death while married men would be more reserved in hopes of coming home to their families. St. Valentine the priest was sentenced to death and executed on February 14. This story can not be proven but it sure is sweet. In the 15th century hand written valentines started to become popular. It wasn’t until the 17th century¬†candy heartsBritain that valentine cards really caught on. Valentine’s Day hit it’s big break in the 1840s in America when the first mass produced valentines were sold. In 1866, the conversation heart got it’s beginning. A machine that would print on candy was invented and changed candy forever. These days about 100,000 pounds of candy hearts are created each day from January to February according to candy company NECCO. Currently, more cards on given out on Valentine’s Day than any holiday, except for Christmas, and over 200 million roses are grown for Valentine’s Day alone. Despite the unknown origin and all of the commercialism Valentine’s Day is a pretty adorable holiday. Make sure you take a few minutes to say “I love you” to someone special this Saturday. Get your sweet heart some Sweethearts¬†here.

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