|Hearts Afloat or Hearts on High ?|
According to online sources, there have been many men named Valentine connected to the holiday, a number of were martyrs.
Under the rule of Emperor Claudius II, the Roman army relied largely on single men. Claudius had banned marriage as he thought it distracted young soldiers. To save lives, Valentine, bishop of Terni at the time, would marry couples to keep husbands away from war. Unfortunately, the emperor didn't think this was a noble or romantic deed and beheaded the bishop near the outskirts of Rome. After he was sentenced to death, young couples would visit his cell leaving flowers and cards. He's said to have died on February 14.
Another less violent tale states that a man named Valentine, after imprisonment by the Romans, sent a letter to a woman he loved with the signature, From your Valentine.
The widespread custom of exchanging cards and handwritten letters to lovers and friends began during the 17th century. However, it was in the 1840s that the first Valentine's Day cards sold by Esther A. Howland were mass-produced in the U.S.
Howland, known as the "Mother of the American Valentine," is credited with commercializing Valentine's Day cards in the U.S. by making cards handcrafted with lace and ribbons. Hallmark Cards produced its first Valentine's card in 1913.
According to estimates, this year the average American will spend over $196 on Valentine's Day. According to a survey from the National Retail Federation (NRF) across the nation, holiday sales are expected to top $27.4 billion. While candy and flowers are the most common gifts for Valentine's Day, per the NRF, jewelry tops them at $4.7 billion spent. The second most popular gift is an evening out at $3.7 billion, followed by flowers, clothing, and then candy.
We're celebrating with dinner at home 🥰. Our menu will include filet mignon (a treat), fresh veggies, a glass (or two) or red wine and gelato for dessert.
How about you — Any special Hearts Day celebrating planned?