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'How Do I Love Thee' on Valentine's Day

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 2/9/24 | 2/9/24

By Liz Page

We don't really know the true origin of Valentine's Day, but many of us observe it. The Baby Boomers began in elementary school when they saved their favorite cards for those they liked the most. My class handed them out to everyone with various messages of love or asking if "You Will Be My Valentine". It was a stress-driven process to make sure your favorite cards with the best sayings got to those you wanted them to.

It was a time to get bags of those little multi-colored candy hearts with messages of love as well. I just learned they are called conversation hearts. They are manufactured year-round and have a shelf-life of five years. So, if you have a bag or two left over, they will be good for quite a while.

Cupid, that chubby half-naked, angel of love, is most often depicted for Valentines, along with red hearts. 

The origins of the day are obscured by martyrs with the name of Valentine and with the advent of spring and Christian beliefs. Saint Valentine is the first spring saint. The day has been marked by feasts. Romance became a part of it because as it was believed it is the date birds start their mating season.

Now it is a highly commercialized, some say holiday, although you usually don't get the day off from work. No longer do those in love have to sit and ponder about how to profess their true love. With a mouse click you can find verses, poems, and pictures, depicting love and your feelings for whomever.

Flowers are a common gift to a lover and chocolate is synonymous with Valentine's Day. If you need some help, there are booklets you can purchase to help you find the right words to send to your loved one, called a Valentine Writer Book,  or there's the novel by Elizabeth Wetmore.

Even my father, a staid Englishman, who didn't say much and certainly not in terms of professing his love out loud, would get Mom flowers and a card. I don't remember any chocolate. Perhaps she hid the chocolate from us.

Now you can get a huge, heart-shaped box of chocolates that you wonder if what is inside is going to be something you are going to like, or if you will have to spit it into the garbage. Some people just press on them to see what is inside and leave them for the next person. 

Red roses are another popular symbolization, although other flowers will do.

I prefer the simpler amenities. A big bag of m and m chocolate-covered peanuts. Save your money on a card or flowers and simply say: "I love you".

Some may say that is too cheap, but is it about how much you spend on your loved one, or that you have someone you love? I vote for the latter.

In the good old USA, it is a $25.8 billion industry (with inflation), with an average of  $185.81  spent per person. My research also referred to the National Retail Federation which indicated that in the last decade, fewer people are celebrating the day, citing too much commercialization, not having a significant other or simply not being interested in celebrating.

Just a few more interesting tidbits about Valentine's Day: Hallmark has reported 145 million cards, not including those exchanged in elementary school, will be exchanged.

Cupid originates from Greek mythology and used an arrow to strike the hearts of people, causing them to fall in love. Please don't do that to me.

And don't forget Fido. According to an article in Good Housekeeping pets in 27.6 million American households will get Valentine's Day presents. That's worth $751.3 million going to the cats and dogs. Of course, some might say they prefer the furry creatures.

Oh, and here's another non-romantic statistic. Those heart-shaped conversation candies got their start with medical lozenges. 

Valentine's Day is the second biggest holiday for greeting cards and teachers receive the most cards if you want a special postmark on your Valentine's Day card, there is a Valentine, AZ, TX, NE, and VA, with VA and TX offering special holiday postmarks.

My research didn't say much about social media, but it will be used to profess love and wish everyone a  Happy Valentine's Day.



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