Valentine’s Day

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About 270 A.D., marriage was forbidden by Emperor Claudius II (known as Claudius the Cruel). He wanted men as soldiers and found married men far less likely to leave home and hearth willingly. He issued an order forbidding marriage.

The Bishop of Interamna, named Valentine, honored the institution of marriage and invited young lovers to come in secret to exchange vows.

Claudius II, living up to his nickname, was incensed that a mere bishop of Rome would ignore an Imperial Order. He had him arrested and imprisoned… he was eventually beheaded.

Valentine died on February 14th. Before he died he left a note for his jailer’s daughter, signed “From your Valentine.” The two had become close friends during his imprisonment.

Flowers became associated with Valentine’s name because those whom he joined together came to the prison on their anniversaries and threw them into his prison cell.

That is the historical Christian explanation of this holiday.

There is another theory. According to this opinion, Valentine’s Day began in Rome. February 14 was the day on which Juno, Queen of Roman Gods and Goddesses was honored. In Rome, Juno was also known as the Goddess of women and marriage.

Unfortunately, the second theory does not explain how the day became known as St. Valentine’s Day.

Image result for valentines dayMany traditions have evolved over the years regarding this holiday. For example, according to Scottish tradition, red roses mean “I love you.” Yellow roses mean “I love you but do not know if you love me.” White roses say “our love is pure” while orange blossoms mean everlasting love. Gardenias imply secret love while gladiolas say “you have pierced my heart.”

The Scots also say that the first man’s name a woman hears on Valentine’s Day will be the name of the man she loves and marries. They also say if you see a flock of ducks, you will have a happy, peaceful marriage. Those women who see a robin on this day of love marry crime fighters.

America has taken all of this romance and superstition and turned it into a good old capitalistic day of celebration.

According to the National Retail Foundation, the average male spends $125.95 on Valentine’s Day. The average woman spends $38.22. Women are by nature frugal… saving for family, and all that. Actually, women spend more than men because they buy more presents for more people than do men.

As for married people, more than 80 percent of Americans give spouses or significant others Valentines’ Day greeting cards and close to 60 percent have an evening out to celebrate this holiday that honors love.

The 18 to 34 year-old segments appear to place the highest value on romance. They spend $140 per couple. Older Americans spend the next highest amount… $60. Those under age 55 tend to spend less than $50. The latter group represents the largest number of adults with children in the home, by the way.

Valentine’s Day sees more flower sales than any other day of the year, including Easter and Mother’s Day. So says the Society of American Florists.

Candy sales last year were $1.09 billion… fourth after holiday candy sales for Halloween, Easter and Thanksgiving through the New Year.

Image result for valentines dayThe annual survey is conducted by the National Retail Federation Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions. It gauges consumer behavior and shopping trends and utilized 1,697 interviews to arrive at their conclusions. The survey has a 1 percent plus or minus error ratio. The latest survey is not yet available and so the statistics quoted may not be absolutely accurate… but they’re in the ballpark.

The International Mass Retailers Association (IMRA) surveyed intent for gift giving and found 2004’s lovers planned to spend $77 per person — $47 per person less than 2003. What kind of message is that to send our children about love?

The bulk of holiday sales are due to come this week. Is it the economy? Or, is love on a slippery downward slope?

Women shop earlier, men spend more, according to IMRA. Men this year said they intended to spend about $95 while women budgeted only $60 for lovers’ gifts.

It is three times more likely women will receive flowers and jewelry from men than vice versa. The number of men and women who send Valentine’s Day greeting cards is almost equal.

Close to 30 percent of women will give candy, 22 percent of men. Only about 10 percent of women give flowers, while bouquets are the choice of 33 percent of adult men. Slightly less than 10 percent of men give jewelry while only 3.2 percent of women do so.

IMRA also finds that most men shop at florists and specialty stores. Women prefer discount stores.

May God Bless and  Keep You This Day Till Tomorrow

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