The Surprising History of Valentine’s Day
Empire Pawn of Nassau Inc
Diamonds, Jewelry Store, Diamond Rings
It’s a common belief that Valentine’s Day was created by an advertising agency on Madison Avenue in order to sell flowers, chocolate and jewelry. Ad men (and women) may have run with the ball (or heart), but Valentine’s Day, like Halloween, actually stems from an ancient pagan tradition. Read about the surprising history of Valentine’s Day, courtesy of National Geographic.
Strange, but true origins
The origin of Valentine’s Day dates back to a pagan festival in ancient Rome called Lupercalia. At this raucous and bloody event held every year from February 13 to 15, men would strip naked and spank young maidens with goat- or dog-skin whips in the hopes of increasing their fertility, according to classics professor Noel Lenski of the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Lupercalia remained wildly popular well into the fifth century A.D. — at least 150 years after Constantine made Christianity the official religion of the Roman Empire. Recognizing the tradition was wildly popular with people, the Christian church began associating the Lupercalia festival to the acts of St. Valentine, who is associated with "courtly love."
According to one story, in the third century A.D. Roman Emperor Claudius II, seeking to bolster his army, forbade young men to marry. Valentine, it is said, defied the ban, performing marriages in secret. Another account tells the story that St. Valentine was imprisoned for marrying Christian couples and aiding Christians being persecuted by the Romans. As punishment for not denouncing his faith, Valentine was executed February 14, 270 A.D, the day we celebrate Valentine’s Day today.
How we celebrate today
So how do we celebrate Valentine’s Day in modern times? Thankfully, the flogging ritual is a thing of the past. Most people spend money going out to dinner or buying a gift for their loved one.
According to the National Retail Federation’s (NRF) Valentine’s Day Consumer Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics and released in January 2015, the average person celebrating Valentine’s Day in 2015 was expected to spend $142.31 on candy, flowers, apparel and more, up from $133.91 in 2014. Total spending was expected to reach $18.9 billion, a survey high.
Men will spend nearly double what women plan to spend ($190.53 versus $96.58 on average, respectively.) Additionally, adults 25 to 34 will outspend other age groups at an average of $213.04; 35 to 44 year olds will spend an average of $176.21 and 18 to 24 year olds will spend an average of $168.95.
Candy, jewelry, flowers top list
In 2015, most (53.2%) planned to spend $1.7 billion on candy, with one in five (21.1%) planning to buy jewelry for a total of $4.8 billion, the highest amount seen since the NRF began tracking spending on Valentine’s gifts in 2010.
The survey found nine in 10 (91%) planned to treat their significant others/spouses to something special — spending an average of $87.94 on them, up from $78.09 in 2014.
Additionally, 58.7 percent expected to spend an average of $26.26 on other family members and $6.30 on children’s classmates/teachers. A record one in five (21.2%) said they would include their dog and cat in their Valentine’s Day plans, looking to spend $5.28 on average, which equates to a whopping $703 million on pet gifts.
Discount stores (35.2%) and department stores (36.5%) were the most visited locations for Valentine’s Day gifts, as were specialty stores (19.4%) and florists (18.7%). One-quarter of those surveyed (25.1%) said they would shop online and 13.3 percent shopped at a local or small business to find something unique for their loved one.
Additionally, 37.8 percent planned to buy flowers, spending a total of $2.1 billion, and more than one-third (35.1%) planned for a special night out, including movies and restaurants, totaling $3.6 billion. Celebrants also expected to spend nearly $2 billion on clothing and $1.5 billion on the gift that keeps on giving: gift cards.
Source: Valentine's Day Facts: Gifts, History, and Love Science
, Gemstone Jewelry
, Jewelry Store