Saturday, February 13, 2016
Valentine Fact from Fiction
Fact: It may be based around the Roman feast day of Lupercalia, and then co-opted by Christian martyr, St. Valentine, (whose main goal wasn't to get folks to fall in love, but to get lovers into the church to get officially married) but it's been a deal for a long, long time. Shakespeare and Chaucer both mention it.
Fiction: Valentine CARDS were created by Hallmark.
Fact: Nope, again. They became really popular in the US in the 1840s, early in the reign of Queen Victoria, and not so coincidentally, of inexpensive color printing. In February of 1477, a woman in Norfolk, England sent a letter to her fiancé, calling him “my right well-beloved valentine.” The letter is now part of the British Library, wand is the oldest known Valentine in English. Hallmark came into being in 1913.
Fiction: At least the candy thing is recent? All the hearts and heart-shaped boxes?
Fact: If by new, you mean the 1860s, when Cadbury's introduced the heart-shaped chocolate box for the holiday. Hershey's kisses came along in 1907.
Fiction: So all the traditions are really traditional. At least the current grumbling about the over-commercialism of romance are a modern thing.
Fact. Again, sorry.Ccomplaints about Valentine’s Day commercialism are nothing new. In 1847 the New York Daily Tribune ran an article lamenting the status quo: “There was a time when Valentine’s Day meant something. ... That’s gone long ago. Now nobody makes more than a joke of it.”
Fiction: All right, so all I need is some candy and a card. Maybe some flowers. At least it's not an expensive holiday.
Fact: Not exactly, if you're an average American. According to a recent survey, the average adult in the US will spend $45 on Valentine’s Day. Men tend to splurge than women, and single people, don’t always let being unattached stop them. On an average, they'll spend a$37—probably on a night out, which single people are five percentage points likelier to do on Valentine’s Day than their married counterparts.
Happy Valentine's Day from Cindy Spencer Pape and her own special valentine!