FEBRUARY 14th - THE LOW DOWN.
February 14th. Also known as Valentine's Day. You might love it, you could hate it. One thing is for sure, you can’t escape it. No matter what your feelings are towards the National Day of Love, it's hard not to be slightly intrigued, if not baffled, as to what all the fuss is about.
This article will tell you all the facts about the origins of valentine's day - and how this special date in February became the global phenomenon that it is today.
First of all, let’s set the record straight on who Saint Valentine is. After all, the Patron Saint of Lovers is who the celebration is named after! Unfortunately, history books can’t tell us for certain who Saint Valentine was.
However, some sources suggest that he was a rather mysterious figure, who kept his secrets closely guarded to his chest.
One rumor that has circulated about the origins of Saint Valentine is perpetuated from ancient myth. According to Roman fables, Saint Valentine was a priest who helped soldiers to fall in love and marry when the practice was strictly forbidden.
This is because soldiers fighting for Rome were banned from marriage. As the legend goes, he wore a ring on his finger to signal to soldiers who he was. The ring in question was supposedly meant to carry a symbol of cupid, which is why the ancient cherub resonates with Valentine's Day.
Unfortunately, this particular Saint V was beheaded for his actions - which led to him becoming the eternal martyr of love.
Other reports suggest that Saint Valentine originated from Italy, formally known as ‘St. Valentine of Interamna.’ He became a bishop at 21 years of age and was quickly dubbed as the priest of love for his unwavering abilities to unite young couples.
One myth suggests that he famously reunited a young pair of lovers by asking them both to hold a rose without touching the thorns. In another story, he was able to summon turtle doves and pigeons to fly around potential, lovers, and matches. Whilst nobody can be truly sure about the superpowers Saint Valentine supposedly held, the mark they left on the world cannot be contested.
Of course, Valentine's Day isn’t just about myths and legends. Whilst the figure who made Valentine's Day might be ancient, the grip that this special February date holds in society has not loosened in the new millennium.
Since the early 1500s, Americans have been exchanging handwritten Valentine's Day letters and trinkets. Naturally, when printing technologies became more sophisticated, people began exchanging cards.
Whilst St Valentine was certainly a man, the holiday would not be what it is today without women. Esther Howland was the businesswoman behind the first mass-produced Valentine's Day Cards in the 1800s.
She got the idea from imported Valentine's Day cards from England and decided that Americans needed a slice of the romantic action too. When the business first started out, she worked with a small crew of women and girls from her family home.
When the trade expanded, so did her working quarters and the empire that followed. Even by the standards of today, Esther made a lucrative fortune from her cards, with her accounts holding 100,000 dollars annually. (That would be about 3 million dollars in the current currency)
Nowadays, over 145 million Valentine's day cards are sent each year, which would make Esther a billionaire a few times over. That also means that she is one of the United State’s most successful businesswomen that ever lived.
People don’t just send cards either. Chocolate, flowers, teddy bears and engagement rings are also highly popular gifts to send to loved ones in the February month of the year.
Around the World
Whereas women are more likely to dominate the valentine's day cards market, they are not the ones most likely to pop a box of chocolates in the mail or ask a courier to deliver flowers. Men are 72% likely to send flowers or chocolate and considering over 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are sent every year, that’s pretty impressive.
It's not just Americans that pay tribute to Saint Valentine on February 14th. There are 15 other countries all around the world who acknowledge the day of love. These include Mexico, France, Holland, Bulgaria, Italy, the Philippines, South Korea, Canada, Australia, Denmark, South Africa, and the UK. There are other countries like Romania that celebrate love and romance, but some choose to place this festival in Spring, as opposed to mid-February.
Nowadays, Valentine's Day has become a global celebration of love, friendship, and appreciation. Lovers will always have center stage on this February date, but the future of technology means that space and time are no longer barriers for physical intimacy.
Some people are lucky enough to share this day with the ones they love, but others are becoming more reliant on the powerful potential for sex-technology. Thanks to devices like Pearl2, Titan and Onyx+ lovers are able to manipulate the powers of sexual contact, despite the lack of physical touch. Finally, the future means that Valentine's Day intimacy is available for everyone!
No matter how you show your love this Valentine's day - just make sure to use this special day to appreciate someone you hold dear to your heart. The origins of Valentine's Day and Saint Valentine might be a little confused at times, but this special day has always been dedicated to expressing our love to those we hold close. Whether it's your lover, spouse, best friend or colleague - there are more than enough reasons to get into the spirit of the day of love.