COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – A new survey finds Americans will spend a whopping 18 point six billion dollars on Valentines Day gifts this year but do they know where this romantic holiday came from?
Roses are red, violets are blue, Valentine’s Day is not something new.
February has long been celebrated as a month of romance but the story of Valentine is still till this day some what of a mystery.
“It all starts back during the early days of the Christian faith during the persecution under the Roman Empire and in the third century there were several people who’s name was a variant of Valentine who were killed for their faith,” said Professor of History, Amber Handy.
February was known as the Roman month of purity. Some believe Valentine was imprisoned and would send notes to his loved ones. But there are many different theories of how it all got started.
“Valentine was rounded up during the persecution period and put in jail and while he was there in jail made friends with the jailers daughter and they developed a close friendship or later a romantic relationship; on the day he knew he was gonna die he sent a written note to her to say goodbye and he signed it from your Valentine,” added Handy.
And though it’s hard to say when Valentine’s Day actually started, the Valentine’s Day we know today involves a lot of cards, chocolates and hearts.
Sending notes and cards didn’t start until the middle ages. It was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds mating season which added to the idea of romance. Chaucer wrote about it in the 14th century, that’s were the term “love birds” came from. But now, the day has become a bit more commercialized as Hallmark started pushing the special day in 1910 to increase card sales between Christmas and Easter.
“I think Hallmark jumped on an idea that was already out there and had a brilliant marketing strategy,” added Handy.
But what would the original Valentine think of that?
“Based on the stories that we know. He would be quite happy to see his name has survived the practice of celebrating love and affection,” added Handy.
The oldest known Valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London.