Monday, February 14, 2011


Though Valentine hearts and roses are red, retailers and business owners see the green of MONEY when it comes to celebrating the holiday. Here are some fast facts about the Valentine's holiday*:

•In the United States Valentine's week is ranked number one in regard to chocolate candy sales. Sales of chocolate account for more than $345 million out of the more than $448 million dollars in candy consumers will purchase to celebrate the holiday.

•E-commerce retailers expect to rack up about $650 million dollars selling food, candy, flowers and other Valentine's Day related goods.

•About 15 million Electronic Valentines (E-Valentines) were sent in 2010.

•About 1 billion Valentine's Day cards are exchanged each year. Teachers receive the most cards, followed by children, mothers, wives, then sweethearts. Children ages 6 to 10 exchange more than 650 million Valentine's cards with teachers, classmates and family members.

•Canadians, in 2007, averaged spending $92.30 on Valentine gifts.

•U.S. consumers, in 2009, spent an average of $102.50 on Valentine’s gifts and merchandise. Total spending on the holiday was expected to reach $14.7 BILLION.

•The 35 to 44 year old age group spends the most money on the holiday, followed by young adults aged 18 to 24. The 55 to 64 year old age group spends the least money for Valentine's Day.

•Lastly, and not surprisingly, men spend nearly TWICE the amount of money celebrating the holiday than women do.

Valentine's Day started in the time of the Roman Empire. In ancient Rome, February 14th was a holiday to honour Juno. Juno was the Queen of the Roman Gods and Goddesses. The Romans also knew her as the Goddess of women and marriage. The following day, February 15th, began the Feast of Lupercalia.

The lives of young boys and girls were strictly separate. However, one of the customs of the young people was name drawing. On the eve of the festival of Lupercalia the names of Roman girls were written on slips of paper and placed into jars. Each young man would draw a girl's name from the jar and would then be partners for the duration of the festival with the girl whom he chose. Sometimes the pairing of the children lasted an entire year, and often, they would fall in love and would later marry.

Under the rule of Emperor Claudius II Rome was involved in many bloody and unpopular campaigns. Claudius the Cruel was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues. He believed that the reason was that roman men did not want to leave their loves or families. As a result, Claudius cancelled all marriages and engagements in Rome. The good Saint Valentine was a priest at Rome in the days of Claudius II. He and Saint Marius aided the Christian martyrs and secretly married couples, and for this kind deed Saint Valentine was apprehended and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. He suffered martyrdom on the 14th day of February, about the year 270. At that time it was the custom in Rome, a very ancient custom, indeed, to celebrate in the month of February the Lupercalia, feasts in honour of a heathen god. On these occasions, amidst a variety of pagan ceremonies, the names of young women were placed in a box, from which they were drawn by the men as chance directed.

The pastors of the early Christian Church in Rome endeavoured to do away with the pagan element in these feasts by substituting the names of saints for those of maidens. And as the Lupercalia began about the middle of February, the pastors appear to have chosen Saint Valentine's Day for the celebration of this new feaSt. So it seems that the custom of young men choosing maidens for valentines, or saints as patrons for the coming year, arose in this way.

Iris Flores
Chris Westphal
Onyx Wholesale Arvada, Co

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