We thought it would be a bit of fun to share the origin story of how Valentine’s Day came to be and who it is named after. But as we discovered, it is somewhat of a Clue-like, who-done-it mystery, with no real, clear answer to this day!
Was it Emperor Claudius II Gothicus with the Wrench in the Cellar in 270 CE? After all, it was on the 14th of February when ‘Claudius the Cruel’ as he was known, beheaded the imprisoned St. Valentine – the Bishop of Terni, for unlawfully marrying couples in secret
Or was it Pope Gelasius I with the Candlestick in the Ballroom at the end of the 5th century? When he outlawed the Feast of Lupercalia in 496 CE and was rumored to have replaced it with St. Valentine’s Day.
Alternatively, could it have been Geoffrey Chaucer in the late 1300s with the Lead Pipe in the Library? The English author penned the lines of “Parlement of Foules“, a poem containing the sentiment “For this was on Saint Valentine’s Day when every bird comes there to choose his mate.”
The true ancestry of the holiday is vague. A mystery – sans a time machine – will remain unsolved until someone finds the key to legends past.
What we do know is that February 14th was not celebrated as a day of romance until about the 14th century, and today St. Valentine’s Day isn’t just for couples and lovers! It is celebrated by all: Young and less young. Coupled and uncoupled. Furried and paw’d. And in more countries than we can possibly list out here!
Here is some interesting trivia – St. Valentine’s Day by the numbers:
The first ‘valentine’ or greeting card appeared in the 1500s. It wasn’t until the late 1700s that commercially printed cards were used. The first commercial valentines in the United States were printed in the mid-1800s.
The number of the original Necco candy conversation hearts produced each year. Manufactured as a medicinal throat lozenge in 1847, it wasn’t until 1902 that they took on the shape of a heart. They once were a bit larger and donned expressions like “Why is a stylish girl like you a thrifty housekeeper?” The answer, on the other side: “Because she makes a big bustle about a little waist.”.
On February 14th, in the year of America’s centennial 1876, an attorney on behalf of Alexander Graham Bell applied for a telephone patent in Washington, D.C. What you might not know is that just hours before – an attorney for Elisha Gray filed a caveat announcing his intention to file a claim for a patent for his version of a telephone. Presented with both applications, the U.S. Patent Office ultimately decided on March 7, 1876, to issue the first patent for a telephone, United States Patent No. 174,465, to Mr. Bell.
The number of roses grown in preparation for Valentine’s Day each year. Countries including Ecuador, Kenya, or Columbia ship the roses to the U.S., since that particular floral variety does not grow in the colder temperatures the U.S. experiences in February.
According to the National Retail Federation, it is projected that the total Valentine’s Day spending in the U.S. will hover around $26 billion dollars in 2023 ($192.80 per person celebrating).
The National Retail Federation also concludes that more than half of consumers (52%) plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year by reaching into their pockets and spending their hard-earned dollars. Bestowing love on teachers, children, friends, pets, colleagues, significant others, and family members.
A survey conducted by MetLife Pet Insurance shows that 42% of the people who responded would rather spend Valentine’s Day with their pets. It’s that unconditional love for our furry friends that does us in every time!
While the top gift on February 14th is candy of some variety – flowers win when it comes to open rate for Valentine’s Day gift email campaigns. According to eDataSource via Moosend, the open rate is 17.2% for flowers, followed by chocolate at 11% and jewelry coming in at 9%.
Celebrate with Hitachi Solutions
Regardless of how you celebrate the day, it is the hope of Hitachi Solutions that each one of our employees and our customers feel cared for and supported – not only on Valentine’s Day – but every day of the year.