No, Valentine’s Day wasn’t invented by the Hallmark greeting card company. The name comes from Saint Valentine of Rome. He was an Italian priest who died on February 14 in 269 AD.  The feast of St. Valentine has been observed since 496 AD.

Saint Valentine supposedly wore an amethyst ring with an engraved image of Cupid. And the birthstone of February is amethyst.

It wasn’t until the 14th century that the day became associated with romantic love. By the 18th century it had evolved into an occasion where lovers expressed their affection by giving flowers, candy and sending greeting cards.  The mass-produced cards we send today have been around since the 1800’s.

Regarding those fancy, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates. Cadbury, the British chocolate company, created those in 1868. Today, over 36 million of those boxes are sold annually.

Over 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged in the U.S. each year.

On average, men spend about twice as much as women on Valentine’s gifts.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and your Valentine!