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​Five Quirky Characteristics of Valentine’s Day

Contributed by: Heath Combs

Gorgeous flowers and scrumptious chocolates. Handmade cards and silk pajamas. These are a few items typically associated with Valentine’s Day, one of America’s most popular holidays.

But before we start digging into a few of the more quirky aspects of the holiday, when it comes to matters of the heart, Truliant proudly supports the American Heart Association. The photo shown with this blog is from our local National Wear Red Day event. Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women, causing one in three deaths each year.

That’s approximately one woman every minute. But with simple lifestyle changes it is 80% preventable.

Another step you can take is to learn more about Community Health and Wellness programs from Novant Health by e-mailing [email protected]. Women can write in to ask to be added to Novant’s distribution list for wellness programs or to be connected with a screening or a wellness coach.

Now, for some of the more intriguing aspects to consider this Valentine’s Day. They include: 

1. Rich roots. DId you know that Valentine’s Day traces its origins to an ancient Roman fertility festival? Or that Valentine was a 3rd-century priest imprisoned by Emperor Claudius II for performing marriage ceremonies in secret? At the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius declared Feb. 14 as a day for honoring the martyred St. Valentine. But it wasn’t until the 1300s that the day — also the start of birds’ mating season— became associated with love and passion. The first written Valentine greetings appeared in the 15th century and, 200 years later, Britons began a tradition of exchanging Valentine’s Day notes. For more about this day’s colorful history, click here and here.

Notable events. Best known as a time for romance, Valentine’s Day also is associated with a number of notable historical events. Perhaps the most notorious is 1929’s St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. On a more positive note, both Oregon and Arizona became states on this day. Penicillin was discovered on Feb. 14, and Alexander Graham Bell applied for a patent on the telephone. Jimmy Hoffa was born on Valentine’s Day, as were Jack Benny, Gregory Hines and Florence Henderson. And both General William Tecumseh Sherman and Captain James Cook died on Feb. 14. 

Unusual customs. While Valentine’s Day observances started in the West, nearly every country in the world now celebrates the holiday — each with special traditions. In 18th and 19th century England, children once marked Valentine’s Day by going door to door, singing tunes and begging for treats. In contemporary Japan, women give chocolates to nearly every man they know on Valentine’s Day — from bosses to husbands — but men don’t reciprocate the gesture until a month later on “White Day.” And In Germany, a popular gift is a heart-shaped cookie decorated with loving words, often with a ribbon attached so it can be worn like a necklace.

4. Romantic movies. From vintage gems like “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and “Casablanca” to modern classics such as “Notting Hill” and “Titanic,” there’s no shortage of love-inspired movies to enjoy on Valentine’s Day — or “don’t miss” lists to consult. Looking for movies kids will like? Try “Shrek” or “The Princess Bride.” How about favorite date night movies? “When Harry Met Sally,” “Pretty Woman” or “The Notebook” could be the ticket. This list names 33 rom-com movies even guys will like, such as “Groundhog Day” and “High Fidelity.” For more ideas, click here, here or here

5. Economic impact. Lovestruck couples aren’t the only ones wearing their hearts on their sleeves on Valentine’s Day. Retailers also feel the love. In 2016, the holiday is expected to contribute $19.7 billion to the U.S. economy, a record high. More than half of consumers are expected to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year, spending an average of $147 on gifts. Candy and greeting cards are the most frequent purchases, followed by an evening out and flowers. The holiday is such an important business event that some economists see it as a “litmus test” of consumer confidence. Are roses on your Valentine’s shopping list? Expect to spend more this year, experts say.
Of course, if you ever need help with anything money related, good advice is as close as your Truliant Federal Credit Union branch. At Truliant, our promise is to always keep your best interest at HEART!

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