Here at the Rock Hill Coa-Cola Bottling Company, we’re suckers for some interesting history. This month, we’re sharing some Fun Facts about Valentine’s Day. Enjoy a Coke while you’re reading a little bit about the loveliest holiday.
A Valentine’s Feast?
We might usually associate Thanksgiving with a feast, but Valentine’s Day? Isn’t an intimate dinner between two sweethearts more the tradition? What we know today as Valentine’s Day started out as a feast day honoring the Christian martyr known as Saint Valentine, who died in AD 296. The religious calendar day was established in AD 496 by Pope Gelasius I.
Although several stories that associate Saint Valentine with love have cropped up over the centuries, most of them are dubious at best. What we know for sure is that during the 14th and 15th Centuries, the concept of courtly love was a driving factor. The activities and actions that made for a successful courtier lent themselves well to the more romantic notion of love on Saint Valentine’s Day.
18th Century Exchanges
By the 18th Century, people were exchanging hand-written love notes on Valentine’s Day. These notes typically came along with flowers and confections. Sound familiar? This aspect of the holiday tradition has been essentially unchanged since then.
By the early 19th Century, and the availability of relatively inexpensive large-scale printing, printers began producing ready-made Valentines, called “mechanical valentines.” How romantic. All of the poor lovelorn folks unable to muster up the right words for a hand written love note could simply mail one of these printed cards.
Love in a Box
We have Cadbury, the British chocolate company, to thanks for the ubiquitous box of chocolates at Valentine’s Day. In 1868 Cadbury began producing what they called Fancy Boxes: a heart-shaped box filled with chocolates. Again, not much has changed since the mid-19th Century.
A Lot of Hearts
Just how many Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year in the United States? Every February 14th, Americans send 145 million cards. Add in the number of cards exchanged in children’s classrooms and that number soars to over 1 billion! That’s a whole lotta love!
A Valentine’s Day Treat
Looking to do more for your Valentine this year than a simple store-bought card and a plain box of chocolates? Check out our recipe for a Decadent (But Easy!) Valentine’s Poke Cake.