Valentine's Day: A Look at the Origins and the Holiday Today
Updated: Friday, February 14 2014, 11:29 AM EST
Valentine's Day, a holiday with origins stretching back to ancient Roman times, did not become associated with love and romance until the 1300s.
In ancient Roman times a fertility holiday called Lupercalia was celebrated in mid-February. Between 200-300 A.D. at least two Christian clerics known as Valentine were martyred and in the late 400s Pope Gelasius declared February 14 a day for honoring Saint Valentine.
After becoming associated with romance in the 1300s it would take another 300 years before Europe began the tradition of exchanging valentines. It wasn't until the 1840s that the first mass-produced valentines began being sold in the US.
The look at facts and figures behind Valentine's Day, a collaboration between History.com and Column Five, found that today a total of $448 million is spent on candy the week before February 14 in the US, and $58 million pounds of chocolate candy is bought during Valentine's week. The study found that 62% of US adults celebrate the holiday.
According to the study around 150 million Valentine's Day cards and gifts are sent each year. About 8 billion sweethearts candy are produced annually, enough candy to stretch from Rome, Italy to Valentine, Arizona and back again 20 times.
CLICK HERE for the infographic.
[Valentine's Day By the Numbers. (2014). The History Channel website. Retrieved 10:55, February 14, 2014, from http://www.history.com/interactives/valentines-day-by-the-numbers.]