Thinking of skipping that Valentine’s Day gift? Think again.
Valentine’s Day is widely celebrated as a holiday filled with romance, flowers, and candy, but it didn’t start out that way. The origin of Valentine’s Day is still a mystery. Some say it began as a Pagan holiday called Lupercalia. Others say during ancient festivals, men would draw women’s names from a box to determine who would be their potential sweethearts.
The most famous story is that the Roman Emperor Claudius II banned marriage for his Roman soldiers, thinking they would be more focused in battle without families back home to worry about. A Catholic Saint named Valentine disapproved of this ban and secretly performed marriages for soldiers and their wives. Upon finding out, Claudius had St. Valentine executed on February 14th. Later, a celebration honoring St. Valentine on February 14th began.
Today, the Valentine’s Day holiday has little to do with St. Valentine and his secret matchmaking and everything to do with romance and unbound consumerism. Yes, it is serious business. Just how serious?
- 62% of Americans say they celebrate Valentine’s Day.
- In 2016, Americans spent $20 billion on Valentine’s Day gifts, averaging $130 per person.
- Growers raise 220 million roses just for Valentine’s Day.
- One billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year.
- 3% of pet owners will give their pets a V-Day gift.
- 35 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are purchased.
- 94% of Americans would like to get a gift of candy or chocolate (says the National Confectioners Association)
- 70% of consumers will actually give candy to friends or family members while 43% will buy their own.
But beware, lovers. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 53% of women say they would end a relationship if they did not get something for Valentine’s Day. Ouch! That must not happen too often though, because 260,000 couples in the U.S. got engaged and an average of 11,000 children were conceived on February 14th in 2016. Did someone say chocolate was an aphrodisiac?
If you want to save your relationship this Valentine’s Day, it might be a good idea to pick up some roses, buy a box of chocolates, or make a reservation for dinner. Or, for an alternative to the traditional gifts, you might try something more creative.
Single and not celebrating? Check out S.A.D. – Singles Awareness Day for some fun of your own on February 15th.
How will you celebrate your love on February 14th – or not? Tell us in the comments below.