Valentine’s Day, also called Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is celebrated annually on February 14. Originating as a Western Christian feast day honoring one or two early sainted named Valentinus, Valentine’s Day is recognized as a significant cultural, religious and commercial celebration of romance and romantic love in many regions around the world. Martyrdom stories associated with various Valentines connected February 14 are presented in martyrologies. This includes a written account of Saint Valentine of Rome’s imprisonment for performing weddings for soldiers, who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians persecuted under the Roman Empire. According to legend, during his imprisonment, Saint Valentine restored sight to the blind daughter of his judge and before his execution he wrote her a letter signed, “Your Valentine” as a farewell.
Did you know approximately 190 million valentines are sent each year in the U.S.? If you include valentine cards exchanged in school activities, the figure goes up to 1 billion and teachers receive the most valentines. The oldest record of valentine was a poem Charles Duke of Orleans wrote to his wife when he was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415. According to the 2020 Almanac seasonal guide, women prefer chocolate over flowers, and the chocolate box has been around for more than 150 years. Richard Cadbury introduced the first box of Valentine’s Day chocolates in 1868. In Japan, women are expected to give gifts on Valentine’s Day, and the men have their chance to woo the Japanese woman on March 14, on whets called White Day.
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