Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day is More than Just Cards!

I do enjoy Valentines Day. Not that I am a particular romantic, but the exchanging of cards, candies in a heart shaped box, and flowers is a simple tradition that began for many of us when we were in grade school.

A simple holiday much like Thanksgiving, Valentine's Day is one time out of the year people stop and reflect about the important people in their lives. A bit commercialized, yes, but all in all Valentines Day is a low-key holiday.

Hoping to search out some facts about Valentines, I went to Wikipedia and looked up information regarding Valentine's Day.

Rather than just the simple story of St. Valentine, I was quite surprised to learn the holiday has a very interesting folklore of reality, legends, controversy, and commercialization.

So, borrowing  from Wikipedia and other internet postings, here are some highlights about Valentine’s Day.

  • The day is named after one or more early Christian martyrs.   St Valentines Day was established by Pope Gelasius in 496 AD and was removed  from the Catholic Church calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI, however, St. Valentine's religious observance is still permitted.

  • There are  several Christian martyrs with the name Valentine. 

  • There are legends about Valentine. One legend had Valentine executed by Roman Emperor Claudius II because he would not give up Christianity. Before he died, Valentine performed a miracle by healing the blind daughter of his jailer.

  • The other legend was with the same Roman Emperor Claudius II. Claudius wanted a large army and forbade young men from marrying so they would not be distracted with family issues. Valentine secretly married these young men and was executed for his actions.

  • The third legend and the one promoted by the greeting card business had Valentine writing a love letter to the daughter of the jailer. He prefaced the letter with "From Your Valentine."

  • The second biggest dining occasion in the United States behind Mother's Day is Valentine's Day.

  • Valentines Day is a 16 Billion-Dollar Industry!

  • Many Muslim countries have either banned the holiday, are attempting to ban the holiday, or actively discourage the citizenry from celebrating Valentine's Day.

  • Jim McCann’s 1-800 Flowers hires 6,000 extra workers to handle the one million new Valentine’s Day customers.

  • Hershey Candies sells more than 36 million boxes of heart shaped candy for Valentine’s Day.

So whatever you are doing this evening, have a good Valentine’s Day!

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