The Feast of Saint Valentine is a celebration day that happens every February 14. We know it more popularly as Valentine’s Day.
This holiday was originally the feast day to honor the early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine. It has long been a time when religious, cultural, and commercial celebrations of love occur. Printed valentines have been available for nearly 300 years, while gift exchanges have been happening for at least twice as long.
It is believed that Pope Gelasius I initiated the modern version of Valentine’s Day in the year 496. Once settlers came to the United States, the traditions from Europe came along for the ride.
Each Person Spends About $136 on Gifts
People have been spending significant amounts on their loved ones during Valentine’s Day for several years. In 2010, the average cost of gifts and holiday items totaled almost $110 per person. In 2017, that figure reached $136.
If you buy jewelry for the person you love on Valentine’s Day, it doesn’t take long to reach that figure or go well above it.
Approximately 190 million cards get exchanged during the Valentine’s Day holiday. That number doesn’t account for the millions that kids exchange at school.
The first commercial valentines didn’t get printed in the United States until the 19th century, although Americans created their own exchanges before the day became commercialized.
If you decide to give something besides jewelry, the most popular gifts are red roses and chocolates. These items symbolize love and beauty to the recipient. Birds are a symbol for the day, which is another ancient tradition as it was thought that the avian mating season began on February 14.
Despite its popularity, Valentine’s Day is not a public holiday. Many people take sick or vacation time to celebrate it with the people they love, often with a romantic meal and some time alone.