What about Valentine's Day?

Published: February 15th 2023
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February 14th must be more than cards, flowers, and candy. And who is St. Valentine, and what is the Valentine's Day massacre? Though it sounds a little like my pal Andy Rooney, it might be interesting to find out why this day is what it is. It is celebrated in a big way in Southeast Asia, as we found out firsthand. Most restaurants are decorated, stores are full of special gifts, and people seem to step a little lighter on this day. Valentine's Day was named after two early Christian martyrs, both named Valentine. It was Geoffrey Chaucer who began to associate it with love, romance, and courting. Since the 19th century, handwritten notes evolved into greeting cards, heart shaped gifts, and flowers. But the Greeting Card Association estimates that one billion cards are sent each year worldwide!!! And you ladies beware there are 119 males in their 20's for every 100 females of the same age. It is higher for Hispanics and Asians, lower for Blacks. There are only 34 men aged 65 and over for every 100 women of the same age. The Valentines that are honored are Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Turni. Over the years of history, myth, confusion, and church declarations, a tradition was born or should we say developed. More confusing is that one of the Valentines sent the first valentine to himself! He may have become a patron saint through self-promotion, depending on which story is believable. But both ancient Roman and Christian scholars lay claim to its origin. The most plausible story is that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men — his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, Claudius ordered that he be put to death. Cupid is the most famous of Valentine symbols and everybody knows that boy armed with bow and arrows, and
hearts . He is known as a mischievous, winged child armed with bow and arrows. The arrows signify desires and emotions of love, and Cupid aims those arrows at Gods and Humans, causing them to fall deeply in love. Cupid has always played a role in the celebrations of love and lovers. In ancient Greece he was known as Eros, the young son of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. To the Roman's he was Cupid, and his mother was Venus.The massacre is the name given to the death of seven people during the Prohibition era in Chicago and battles between Al Capone on the South Side(Italians), and Bugs Moran on the North Side(Irish). It was a complex plan by Capone to eliminate competition and may involve contract hit men from elsewhere. The only survivor was a German Shepherd. Shortly after, Moran, who suffered a tremendous blow, lost considerable influence, and in 1931, Capone was convicted of income tax evasion. In Great Britain, Valentine's Day began to be popularly celebrated around the seventeenth century. By the middle of the eighteenth century, it was common for friends and lovers in all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes. By the end of the century, printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one's feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine's Day greetings. Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began to sell the first mass-produced valentines in America. My first memories of Valentine's Day were as a schoolboy. My Mom bought a package of Valentines for us to take to school. At our school, we made a large paper envelope or mail bag, complete with hearts and other decorations. We exchanged Valentines on Feb 14, and the classroom other brought cookies or cupcakes, along with some red fruit punch. I don't think I got involved in flowers and candy until I was well into my college years. I would imagine that the schools would try to downplay the day as a religious holiday now. But I recall this day contained much anticipation and excitement for us. I am happy that the school authorities allowed us to celebrate as we did. Internet dating employs over 4300 people and pulls in $489 million in revenues. 2.2 million marriages take place each year in the U.S., which is 6000 per day. Per capita consumption of candy in the U.S. was 25.7 pounds in 2004, although it is slowly declining. There are 21,667 florists nationwide, employing over 100,000 people. There are over 28,000 jewelry stores in the U.S. And Loveland, Colorado is the most famous postmark for a V Day card. The most famous quotation: How do I love thee? Let me count the ways, by Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Popular movies for V Day are Casablanca, Gone With The Wind, Roman Holiday, From Here To Eternity, Dr. Zhivago, The English Patient, When Harry Met Sally, and Shakespeare In Love. According to retail statistics, Americans spend $30 million per year on Valentine's Day. So, go get your flowers, candy, chocolates, and diamonds before it's all gone! Frommer lists the Inn at Torrey Pines (La Jolla), Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Costa Rican rainforest, Vancouver, The Bahamas, Maine, Molokai, Barcelona, Patagonia and Boston as the most popular for V Day. As adults, the famous love couples seem to get special attention: Bogie and Bacall, Romeo and Juliet, Taylor and Burton, Woodward and Newman, Pinkett and Smith, Antony and Cleopatra, Parker and Barrow, Luci and Desi, Jackie and John, Josephine and Napoleon, Eleanor and Franklin, Burns and Allen, Yoko and John. I have mine, and I hope all of you either have or will find yours today or someday soon. I imagine V Day must now encompass a wide variety of cards and celebrations, with LGBTQ, and other social arrangements heretofore unknown to the card and hospitality business. But however, you celebrate, just let someone in your circle know you are thinking of them!!! Just make it a very happy day!!!


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