Close to Nowhere
Valentine’s Day is one of “those” holidays. Nothing closes, mail is delivered and work goes on.
But if you have a sweetheart and you forgot Valentine’s Day – well, you’re in trouble.
Last year, for this “little” holiday, the American public spent $17.6 billion – this year they estimate $18.6 billion.
The origins of Valentine’s Day are somewhat confusing. My personal favorite is the story of St. Valentine in prison and he’d send notes to his love written on rose petals.
A new one to me is the Roman feast of Lupercalia. Roman men would drink and feast naked from Feb. 13 to the 15th. They would sacrifice a goat and a dog, then whip their women with the skins of the slain animals. And the women let them! The women would actually line up to be beaten with the carcasses as they believed it made them fertile.
The ancient Romans are also responsible for the name of the day of love. Emperor Claudius II executed two men, both named Valentine, on Feb. 14 in separate years.
Later, Pope Gelasius I combined Valentine’s Day with Lupercalia to get rid of the pagan ritual. According to Wikipedia, it was still a drunken revelry sort of holiday, but the Christians did put clothes back on for the celebration.
In later years, Chaucer and Shakespeare romanticized it in their works and it became popular throughout Britain and Europe. Hand-made paper cards also became very popular.
The holiday eventually became popular in the New World. Factory-made cards began being printed in the 19th century.
And then in 1913 Hallmark Cards of Kansas City, Mo., began mass-producing Valentine cards.
February has not been the same since!