This is a guest post written by one of our Bees, Stephanie Modkins
Love is in the air. And by now, you’re either thinking of or purchasing a special treat for a loved one.
Why? Celebrating Valentine’s Day is as American as apple pie. Yet, most people don’t know much about the origins of this 24 hour period. So, here are a few fun Valentine facts that show how this holiday developed into what it is today.
No. 1: Valentine’s Day Replaced the Roman Holiday of Lupercalia.
Lupercalia was a pagan celebration of spring. Participants performed animal sacrifices and engaged in acts meant to increase fertility between males and females. Around 500 A.D., Pope Saint Gelasius I renamed this tradition after Saint Valentine (or Valentinus). By the way, ‘Valens’ means worthy or powerful.
No. 2: Historians Aren’t Sure Who Saint Valentine Was.
Some believe Saint Valentine was an empathetic priest who defied a marriage ban by Emperor Claudius II. Others think he might be a priest who aided Roman Christians in escaping religious persecution.
Either way, this individual’s name is part of the February holiday that advances love.
No. 3: At First, Valentine Cards Were Handwritten Notes.
Because Valentine’s Day is an older holiday, this practice makes sense. For decades, lovers exchanged handwritten notes to show affections.
This practice was amped up by a New England crafter named Esther Howland. She created and sold Valentine’s Day cards made from intricate, white paper lace and ribbons. This led to the mass production of this product and her gaining the nickname “Mother of American Valentines.”
No. 4: Pets Enjoy Valentine’s Day as Much as Humans.
Yes – the world’s four-legged family members get recognized on Valentine’s Day too. According to stats collected by the researchers at Good Housekeeping, pet owners spend 27.6 million on dogs alone. Valentine gifts for pets range from special foods to colorful toys.
No. 5: Conversation Hearts Weren’t Always Candy.
These popular Valentine sweets derive from medicine. A pharmacist, Oliver Chase, invented the machine to create lozenges. His aim was to better treat sore throats and other ailments. After a while, he shifted course. Chase founded the New England Confection Company or Necco. Necco began selling Sweethearts Conversation Hearts in the 1800s.
The above fun facts about Valentine’s Day show how this holiday evolved throughout time. Celebrants let go of its dark side and added on other, more palatable aspects. They are the ones you’ll use come February 14 to show the special people in your life love.
Editor’s Note: Stephanie Modkins is an active Mobee user. She spent her childhood as a military dependent traveling to different places like the Philippines. This experience taught her the value of diversity. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, playing cards, and watching singing competitions.