Ah, February. (Sigh.)
The month of romance, chocolate, and over-priced roses. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and we don’t know about you, but we’re excited! While telling people in your life that you love them is something to be done any time of the year, it’s nice there’s one whole day set aside for celebrating.
So, for all you romantics out there, here are Fun Facts with Hamilton –Valentine’s Day style!
- Valentine’s Day Has Its Own Patron Saint
Traditionally, Valentine’s Day honors a priest named Valentine who lived in the third century under Emperor Claudius II. The emperor outlawed marriage for all military members, decreeing that single men were more faithful soldiers. The sentimental priest believed the law unjust and officiated the weddings of young couples anyway. When Claudius found out, Valentine was put to death. Since the Catholic Church recognizes at least three St. Valentines, each with his own story of heroism and romantic death, the history is a tad bit murky on this, but we liked this story the best.
- The First Valentine Was Sent From –
A prison. In the 15th century. It’s true; the first recorded valentine was sent from the Tower of London by a French duke named Charles — who, at only 21, was imprisoned after the Battle of Agincourt. He wrote a love poem to his sweetheart that included the line, “I am already sick for love, my very gentle Valentine.” He never saw her reaction, though; he was in prison for 20 years!
- It’s All in The Cards
Esther A. Howland started mass producing and selling Valentine’s Day cards in America during the 1840s. She has been given the name, “Mother of the American Valentine” and has been given the honors of commercializing V-Day cards in the U.S. It was in 1913, however, that Hallmark made their very first Valentine card. Today, an incredible 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent every year. If you think the highest quota of received cards goes to wives and sweethearts, guess again. It’s actually teachers who receive the most cards every single year!
- Boxes and Boxes of Chocolate!
In 1861, Richard Cadbury (yes, the Cadbury Eggs, Cadbury) created a heart-shaped box of chocolates believing that it would jack up sales. Was he ever right — today, more than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolates are sold yearly. These iconic gifts made up 10.7% of V -Day candy sales in 2019 alone, totaling 58 million pounds of chocolate sold in the seven days before the 14th. If you’re celebrating Single’s Awareness Day this year, don’t feel left out – surveys show that 43% of Americans buy candy for themselves, too.
- Not the Start You Thought
People either love them or hate them, but conversation hearts are an absolute staple of the holiday. Did you know they had a medicinal start? Boston pharmacist, Oliver Chase, created a machine to produce lozenges. He later started using the same device for candy making! He founded the New England Confectionery Company (or Necco) and turned the lozenges into candy wafers. A few years later, his brother Daniel started printing sentimental messages on the candies, and voila! Conversation hearts were born! Today, 8 billion conversation hearts are produced every single year.
Americans spend about $27.6 billion on Valentine’s Day each year. That’s a lot of money. But we know, and you know that telling your people you love and appreciate them really shouldn’t have a price tag. So Happy Valentine’s Day from us here at Hamilton Connections! We hope it’s extra sweet!