Since this is the next-to-the-top viewed (over 3,000 times) of all my nearly 300 posts over the last decade, I thought it might be good for a rerun. Happy Valentine’s Day 2022!
According to Hallmark’s research department, 145 million cards will be exchanged, making Valentine’s Day the second-most popular greeting-card-giving occasion. This total excludes packaged kids valentines for classroom exchanges which, when included, goes up to 1 billion cards. I can’t find the numbers now but way back in 2010, an additional estimated 15 million e-cards were sent. An interesting tidbit is that Valentine’s Day is a procrastinator’s delight. Over 50% of all Valentine’s Day cards are purchased in the six days prior to the observance.
And while we are on fun facts about Valentines, did you know there are more than 40,000 Americans employed at chocolate companies. Why so many? Because we will buy 58 million pounds of chocolate for Valentine’s Day according to sweet-tooth researchers. That doesn’t include the unknown amount of chocolate consumed in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia—because they also celebrate Valentine’s Day.
There’s quite a bit of mystery surrounding the history of Valentine’s Day and the story of its patron saint. We know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day contains both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. The holiday began as a liturgical celebration of one or more early Christian saints named Valentinus. The most popular legend is that Saint Valentine was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire. Related to this legendary account of St. Valentine, during his imprisonment he is said to have healed the daughter of the jailer and before his execution in AD 269, he wrote a note “from your Valentine” as a farewell to her.
The association of Valentine’s Day with romantic love grew in the Middle Ages and on through the 15th century when the tradition of courtly love flourished and Geoffrey Chaucer wrote romantic poetry and linked it to February 14 when St. Valentine was being honored in the Catholic Church. The day evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, candy or sending greetings cards, known as “valentines.” Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards. And, over the centuries as Valentine’s Day was celebrated in various countries and traditions, hearts, roses, love birds, and cupids were woven into the symbolism and traditions.
As a pastor, I’ve had the privilege of doing two Valentine weddings on the same day, and many other weddings and vow renewals on this special day. Let’s certainly not lose this tradition of romance and expressing love to each other.
But let me suggest that we consider investing in our relationships with our significant others throughout the entire year and not just one day. Express love daily to your spouse, your children, your grandchildren, family members and friends. Acts of sacrificial love like St. Valentine demonstrated are just as powerful the other 364 days of the year. Cards, flowers and chocolate will be welcomed by most people any day of the year—especially when it is unexpected and for no particular “reason.” And let me give you guys a couple hints: roses are significantly cheaper outside the week of Valentine’s Day and one rose each month is often more appreciated than a dozen on Valentine’s Day. Happy Valentine’s Day!
QUESTION: What suggestions do you have to add to the significance of Valentine’s Day? Share them in the Comment section below.