Millions of Americans will be lining up to buy their sweet hearts chocolate covered strawberries and bouquets of roses this Valentine’s Day. But have you ever wondered how this day dedicated to love came to be? We’ve uncovered some of the most interesting facts about the sweetest holiday of the year.
Valentine’s Day started with the Romans
There are two theories about the origin of Valentine’s Day. According to History.com, one is that the day derives from Lupercalia, a raucous Roman festival on February 15th. The second theory is that while the Roman Emperor Claudius II was trying to bolster his army, he forbade young men to marry, because apparently single men make better soldiers. In the spirit of love, St. Valentine defied the ban and performed secret marriages, History.com reports. For his disobedience, Valentine was executed on February 14th.
Candy hearts were originally medical lozenges
In 1847, Boston pharmacist Oliver Chase invented a machine that simplified the lozenge production process, resulting in the first candy-making machine, according to The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America. After identifying an opportunity to revolutionize the candy business, Chase shifted his focus to candy production with Necco wafers
The candies got their iconic shape much later
It wasn’t until 15 years after the creation of Necco wafers that Daniel Chase’s brother, Oliver Chase, developed a way to press words onto the candy lozenges with a felt roller pad and vegetable food coloring. According to The Huffington Post, the conversation candies officially became heart-shaped
in 1902, and today Necco says
about 100,000 of them are sold each year.
Fans of the chalk-like substance that constitutes Necco wafers and Sweetheart candies have had a rough few months after the New England Candy Company abruptly closed in July
. The enterprise was bankrupt before getting bought by Round Hill Investments. CEO Kirk Vashaw announced upon the news of this acquisition, “We look forward to announcing the Sweethearts relaunch for the 2020 Valentine season”.
Valentine’s Day is a popular holiday to get engaged
This seems fitting: A 2017 study
by diamond retailer James Allen found that 43% of millennials chose Valentine’s Day as their top choice of day to propose or be proposed to.
Americans spend a lot on love
According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, Americans spent $18.2 billion for Valentine’s Day in 2017 and were expected to spend $19.6 billion in 2018.
More Americans skip Valentine’s Day than you realize
Whether it’s because they’re single or think the holiday is beyond cheesy, about 3 in 10 adults reported in a survey by the National Retail Federation that they’re not celebrating the day of love, though they may treat themselves to a small gift or a night out with friends and family. Oh well, more chocolate and roses for us!
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