Valentine’s Day by the Numbers

Ahh…Valentine’s Day.

A day when love is in the air and romance surrounds us like a warm, knitted blanket. It must be the result of an epic romance that has been celebrated throughout history, right?

Wrong!

In fact, that couldn’t be further from the real history of Valentine’s Day. What is now a day of passion, began as a day of persecution. So how did we get here?

According to historians, there were multiple St. Valentines who were executed on February 14th, due to religious persecution. During the reign of Roman Emperor Claudius Gothicus, religious leaders who attempted to convert the public were ordered to be executed—as were the three original St. Valentines.

So how did a celebratory feast of martyrs turn into a holiday of love?

This transition is greatly debated among scholars and historians alike, however one of the most widespread explanations comes from the English author Geoffrey Chaucer, writer of “The Canterbury Tales”, who wrote of February being the mating season for birds—which inspired the writing of love letters by nature-minded European nobles. This caught on and is believed to have grown into the celebration we share today.

Today’s Valentine’s Day is almost entirely made-up of sending cards, flowers, candy, and gifts, with no ties to the original St. Valentines; the martyrs. And as many would argue, it’s become hugely monetary.

Just how much money is spent each year on modern Valentine’s Day?  

What is the most popular Valentine’s Day gift?

How many flower deliveries are made?

While the winter holidays still bring in the most money each year, at approximately $465 billion, Valentine’s Day still hits the billion mark with over $19 billion spent in 2018.

Are you one of the millions celebrating love this February? Now that you know more about the holiday, are you in need of inspiration for celebrating it?

Check out our other Valentine’s Day articles on Unwrapped.

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