Last year, Americans spent about 19.7 billion on cards, flowers and candies for Valentine’s Day. This year, it is believed that Americans will spend on average $138 per person on the holiday.
But why do we celebrate Valentine’s Day each year? And who is St. Valentine? History.com says this:
The Catholic Church recognizes three different St. Valentines. One story involves Emperor Claudius III of Rome, who decided single men made better soldiers. As a result, he outlawed marriage. St. Valentine found the marriage ban to be unfair, so he defied the Emperor and married the soldiers in secret. When his actions were discovered, he was put to death.
Other stories suggest St. Valentine may have been killed for helping imprisoned Christians escape their harsh conditions. Yet another story says an imprisoned Valentine sent the first Valentine himself to his jailer’s daughter. He even signed it, “From your Valentine,” an expression we still use today.
While Valentines Day has pagan roots, the holiday became associated with love in the Middle Ages. The earliest written Valentines were thought to be from around 1400. The oldest known valentine in existence is from 1415, and was written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife who was imprisoned in the Tower of London.
Today, we celebrate Valentine’s Day with festivals, parades, gifts, and spending time with our loved ones.
How will you celebrate Valentine’s Day this year?