History of Valentine's Day Gift Giving


Did You Know?

Did you know that the American Greeting Card Association estimates upwards of 1 billion Valentine's Day cards are exchanged every year? Furthermore, about $345 million in chocolate candy is sold during Valentine's week. Plus, it seems that last minute shoppers on February 13 ~ the day before Valentine's Day ~ top the charts for total candy and chocolate candy bought in February. And, while Americans probably began exchanging hand-made valentines as early as the early 1700s, the first mass-produced cards did not appear until the mid-1800's. But chocolate, cards, roses and gift-giving is not the only component of Valentine's Day. It would seem there may be a much darker history to this lover's holiday.

A Lover's Celebration or Pagan Festival?

Some historians claim that St. Valentine's Day was introduced by Christianity to tame the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. This celebration occurred at the Ides of February or February 15th and was a fertility festival dedicated to three Roman legends: Faunus the god of Agriculture, and Remus and Romulus Roman founders.

The story says that the Festival began with members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, gathering at the alleged sacred cave where Remus and Romulus were cared for by a she-wolf, or "lupa." The priests sacrificed a goat for fertility and a dog for purification. Now here is where it gets a little dark. They would skin the goat and cut its hide into strips and dip them in the sacrificial blood. The priest would go through the streets gently slapping the women with the hides in hopes of bringing fertility for the coming year. Later the unmarried women in the city placed their names in an urn. The city's bachelors would choose a name form the urn and be paired with his selected woman. Many of these matches resulting in marriage.

A Day of Love and Romance

Lupercalia survived the initial rise of Christianity. However, it was banned as "un-Christian" by the end of the 5th Century. It was at that time that Pose Gelasius declared February 14 as St. Valentine's Day. During the middle ages, the day became associated with romance and love. Folks in England and France commonly believed that February 14 was the beginning of birds' mating season. This belief lent itself to Valentine's Day being a day of romance. As stated earlier, Valentine's greeting was exchanged as early as the Middle Ages, and the oldest known "valentine" dates back to 1415.

Valentine's Day Gift Giving

The United States is not the only country that celebrates Valentine's day. Additionally, the day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, The United Kingdom, France and Australia. What's more, this year, just over half of all U.S. adults plan on celebrating Valentine's Day. And, whether buying presents for lovers, friends, children, or pets, total gift spending is expected to reach around $19 billion. Furthermore, the average person will spend a little more that $500 on the holiday.

Gifts That Keep on Giving

Since you will probably be spending some money this Valentine's Day, may we make a suggestion? Give that special someone a gift that will pamper them. Style and Tranquility gift certificates make the perfect present for anyone. The can be used on any salon services from haircuts and massages to color or treatments. Not jazzed about gift cards? Shop our array of styling products and tools. Splurge on a flat iron or curling wand, or pamper with amazing cruelty-free sustainable products. Honestly, you cannot go wrong with any gift from Style and Tranquility!

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