The arrival of February is marked by several obvious signs. Store shelves overflow with heart-shaped candies. Everywhere you look, couples passionately embrace on street corners, as love fills the air. And nary a commercial goes by that doesn’t feature a stunning piece of jewelry.
February may be synonymous with a handful of events — there’s that big football game that is contested during the first week or two of the month — but none is more popular than Valentine’s Day (sorry, leap day). As the most romantic day of the year, our societal fixation on the day of love makes sense — after all, whose heart doesn’t beat a little faster when thinking about the one they adore?
The jovial spirit and lovey-dovey passion of Valentine’s Day only account for a fraction of what there is to know about this holiday, however. The financial, historic, religious, and other factors that helped establish this day and continue to power it forward are captivating, and may even reshape your perception of Valentine’s Day.
Whether you are single and ready to mingle or happily coupled up, read on for some fascinating Valentine’s Day facts.
History of Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day has its roots in a man named Valentine. Or two men. Let’s explain.
One origin story tells of a third-century priest named Valentine who lived in Rome. The emperor at the time was Claudius II, who, hoping to make young men better soldiers, outlawed marriage. Valentine, recognizing the unfairness of this decree, secretly continued to marry youthful couples. When his defiance was discovered, he was put to death.
Another features a man named Valentine who was imprisoned and later killed for helping Christians escape captivity in the torturous Roman prisons. This Valentine penned the first Valentine’s Day card when, from jail and before his death, he sent his jailer’s daughter, who secretly brought him food, a love letter and signed it “From your Valentine,” thus beginning a tradition we embrace to this day.
Valentine’s Day facts by the numbers
The history of Valentine’s Day is one of myth and legend, but the modern-day numbers associated with the holiday are anything but — though they are no less unbelievable. While it comes as no surprise that people exchange a lot of gifts and spend an exorbitant amount of money on Valentine’s Day, the actual figures may just blow your mind.
- Americans spent approximately $23.9 billion (yes, with a “B”) on Valentine’s Day-related purchases in 2022.
- The highest dollar category of Valentine’s Day spending is jewelry, which was expected to account for $6.2 billion in 2022.
- In 2022, men were projected to spend approximately $235 per person, while women were expected to spend $119.
- Candy is the most popular Valentine’s Day gift, with 56% of participants planning to buy sweets in 2022. This comes out to around $2.2 billion in spending.
- Americans purchase in the ballpark of 58 million pounds of chocolate for Valentine’s Day.
- Not including classroom valentines, approximately 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year.
Valentine’s Day facts on flowers
No Valentine’s Day is complete without flowers. Whether you are a traditionalist and always opt for a bouquet of red roses or a creative spirit who prefers a unique smattering of unconventional blooms, Feb. 14 is the perfect opportunity to express your personality and affection. No matter what floral route you embrace, one thing is certain — your crush will cherish your token of love.
- Thirty-seven percent of people anticipated buying flowers for Valentine’s Day in 2022. The total spend on those flowers was expected to be $2.3 billion.
- Men are far more likely to buy flowers than women — 56% to 19%, respectively.
- Younger people purchase more Valentine’s Day flowers than their elders. Fifty percent of 18-to-24-year-olds planned to buy flowers in 2022, compared to only 25% for those 65 and over.
- Roses are the most popular Valentine’s Day flower, with over 250 million produced exclusively for the holiday each year.
Best Valentine’s Day flowers
While roses dominate the top spot on the Valentine’s Day flower power rankings, many other beautiful blooms make superb gifts for your special someone. If you are looking for some of the best, most romantic blossoms for your loved one, here’s a roundup of some popular holiday picks.
Classic and elegant, roses are synonymous with love and Valentine’s Day. You cannot go wrong when you opt for roses as a gift on Feb. 14.
Daisies, with their petals spread wide like they are waiting for an embrace, are both delicate and charming. Classic white blooms are most common, but you can grace your Valentine’s Day bouquet with a variety of colors.
Lavender is known for its alluring scent and healing properties, and it also has the benefit of being incredibly gorgeous.