A Brief History of Valentine’s Day

Every year in the middle of February, Americans spend millions buying cards, candy, flowers and other gifts for loved ones. According to The History Channel, it is estimated that 62% of all Americans celebrate St. Valentine’s Day, spending over 190 million dollars, averaging about $130 per person. While many say this is a commercial holiday, it actually has quite different beginnings.

It is believed that since the ancient Roman Times mid-February has been associated with fertility. The Romans celebrated with Lupercalia, a fertility festival. This was thought to avert evil spirits and purify the city, releasing health and fertility. Due to the pagan nature of the festival, by the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius did away with it and assigned February 14th as the official day to honor St. Valentine. The Pope hoped these actions would help Christianize the Roman people.

In the 1300’s, mid-February came to be associated directly with love and romance when Geoffrey Chaucer wrote his poem “Parlement of Foules.” It is said that this poem discusses Mother Nature, beautiful landscapes, and the ritual of bird mating. The poem commences by welcoming spring. For this reason, this time of year became associated with birds reproducing and the coming of the fertile season of spring.

During the 17th century the tradition of sending love letters in this season began. The first mass-produced love notes or greeting cards were produced in the 1840’s. Today, according to The Greeting Card Association, 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent out each year, second only to Christmas cards. An estimated 35 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolates and 220 million roses are produced annually for this holiday. The History Channel also predicts that 6 million couples will get engaged on Valentine’s Day.

Whatever you are planning for your Valentine’s Day, whether a romantic evening out or a quiet dinner at home, Main & Market can help make your celebration memorable. Visit our cafe for lunch or dinner; we will feature a delicious menu created especially for Valentine’s Day, as well as other specials all weekend long. If you are planning on staying home, consider ordering one of our various decadent desserts. Our chocolate covered strawberries are always exceptional, as well as a variety of chocolate and fruit inspired desserts.

You can trust Main & Market to add a unique touch to your special plans. Whatever your needs, contact us today. Our knowledgeable and friendly staff will answer all your questions and can even make a few suggestions to help you create a memorable occasion.

Happy Valentine’s Day!