Valentine's Day is a holiday that celebrates romantic love.
When is Valentine's Day celebrated?
Who celebrates this day?
The day is widely celebrated in the United States, but is not a federal holiday. It is also celebrated in other areas of the world.
The day is mostly celebrated by people who are in love including couples that are married or just dating. Children celebrate the day as well with cards of friendship and candy.
What do people do to celebrate?
Couples generally celebrate the day with gifts and going out to dinner. Traditional gifts include cards, flowers, and chocolates.
Decorations for Valentine's Day are generally in red and pink colors and include hearts, Cupid with his arrow, and red roses. Cupid is a popular symbol of the holiday because in mythology his arrow strikes the heart of people and causes them to fall in love.
In the United States children often exchange Valentine's Day cards with their classmates. These are usually just fun, silly cards or about friendship rather than romantic love. They often attach a piece of candy to the cards.
History of Valentine's Day
No one is quite sure where the origins of Valentine's Day first came from. There were at least three Saint Valentine's from the early Catholic Church who were martyrs. The day of St. Valentine could have been named after any one of them.
The day became associated with romance sometime in the Middle Ages. In the 1300s English poet Geoffrey Chaucer wrote a poem that linked the day with love. This likely was the beginning of celebrating love on this day.
In the 18th century sending romantic cards on Valentine's Day became very popular. People made elaborate handmade cards with ribbons and lace. They also began to use hearts and cupids as decorations.
The holiday spread to the United States and in 1847 the first mass produced Valentine's cards were made by entrepreneur Esther Howland.
Fun Facts About Valentine's Day
- Around 190 million cards are sent on this day making it the second most popular holiday to send cards after Christmas.
- If you include cards given at school and handmade cards, the number of Valentine's exchanged is estimated to be nearly 1 billion. Because so many students give cards, teachers receive the most cards of any profession.
- Around 85% of Valentine's cards are purchased by women. 73% of flowers are purchased by men.
- The oldest love poem is said to be written on a clay tablet by the Ancient Sumerians over 5,000 years ago.
- Around 36 million heart shaped boxes of chocolate will be given as gifts on Valentine's Day.
- Millions of pet owners buy gifts for their pets on this day.
- During the Middle Ages, girls would eat strange foods to help them have dreams where they would dream of their future husband.
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