Screen Shot 2016-02-13 at 12.37.20 PMCould I be a romantic?

ro·man·tic (rōˈman(t)ik/)

– conducive to or characterized by the expression of love.
– of, characterized by, or suggestive of an idealized view of reality.

– a person with romantic beliefs or attitudes.

Maybe? Sure, I’ve been single forever – but I really like The Notebook. Does that count? Maybe, just a little. I think I like the idea of romance and love, without all the fear stuff tied to it. Yes, being romantic and falling love is taking a huge leap of faith, no matter how you slice and dice it. Mentioning slicing and dicing on this topic seems wrong, I am aware. Today is Valentine’s Day – oh what a glorious day for couples in love…and flower shop owners, restaurateurs and Hallmark (of course).  I used to be a real cynic of this holiday, telling everyone “oh Valentine’s Day is just a holiday Hallmark made up” having no facts to back this up (per usual). To amend my ways and out myself as a fledgling romantic, I decided to look up the history of good ol’ V-day.

I am loving The History Channel these days (nice work on Google indexing, you’re popping up more than Wikipedia). The had a great article on the history of this holiday of love – and here are some interesting facts I learned:

  • Screen Shot 2016-02-13 at 12.37.52 PMFebruary has long been celebrated as a month of romance, and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition
  • Approximately 150 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine’s Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas
  • The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred
  • One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome
  • Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured
  • Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure
  • The Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia
  • During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance
  • Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400
  • The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at theBattle of Agincourt
  • Screen Shot 2016-02-13 at 12.38.32 PMIn Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated around the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged.
  • In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap.”
  • Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.)
  • Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines. (shocker)

See there folks, Valentine’s Day has quite a history beyond Hallmark! Now don’t be shy, are you a romantic? What are your thoughts on love?

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