All Things Valentine’s Day

The history of Valentine’s day is most credibly rooted in Rome during the third century. The city was under the rule of Emperor Claudius the second, who thrived on war. His troops, especially the men who were married, grew tired of the fighting and refused to continue. To keep from losing his army, Emperor Claudius banned marriages, but that didn’t stop a young Roman Catholic priest named Valentine. The priest began marrying people in secret, which Claudius decreed as an “act of treason.” He had the priest put to death, and ever since then, Saint Valentine has been recognized as a man who sacrificed his life in the name of true love.

Christians celebrate St. Valentine’s Day, or the Feast of St. Valentine. The day celebrated annually on February 14th started as a Western Christian feast honoring early saints named Valentinus. It’s now a major cultural, religious, and commercial celebration of romance and love. St. Valentine of Rome was recognized for his martyrdom for being sent to prison after performing weddings for soldiers, who were forbidden to marry. He was also known for ministering to Christians who were persecuted by the Roman Empire.

Americans are expected to spend nearly $24 billion dollars on Valentine’s Day gifts this year. This would mark the second highest year of Valentine’s Day spending, falling just behind the $27.4 billion spent in 2020. An annual report by the National Retail Federation estimates that shoppers will spend an average of just over 175-bucks per person on gifts.

Looking for love online, literally. Google is out with the states that search for the word “love” the most. Virginia takes the top spot again followed by Oregon, Mississippi, Texas and California. On the flip side, New Hampshire and Montana are the state least likely to search for love. The word always spikes around Valentine’s Day but it’s not all about making a match. Google says the most asked questions are “What is love?” and “How to love yourself.”

If you are looking for a place that sounds romantic today, you could try Valentine, Nebraska. The Census Bureau says the town of around 28 hundred is one of two places called Valentine in the country. The other is in Texas with a population of around 127. There are nine places with love in their name. They include Loveland, Colorado; Lovejoy, Georgia; Lovelock, Nevada and Lovelady, Texas. There are four places with heart in the name including Heart Butte, Montana; Sacred Heart, Minnesota; South Heart, North Dakota and Heartwell, Nebraska. The population of each is less than one thousand.

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