Valentine’s Day from Pagan to Profit
Valentine’s Day has come a long way from its roots.
The holiday traces its origins back to the Roman festival of Lupercalia. There, Women were whipped with the skins of sacrificed animals to gain fertility. On February 14th of two different years, Roman Emperor Claudius II executed two men both named Valentine. Their martyrdom was honored by the Catholic Church as the Celebration of St. Valentine’s Day. Eventually the church fused the day with Lupercalia in order to expel its pagan rituals.
The Tradition continued into mid-century Europe becoming more popular as a romantic holiday. Finally the industrial revolution introduced factory made cards with a company called Hallmark beginning its mass production of the holiday in 1913
Today, chocolates, hearts and roses are at the center of the celebrations…and those tokens of romance are big business too. According to research from IBIS World, this year consumers have more disposable income than last year to spend on Valentine’s Day. The group expects that total holiday sales will increase 3.8% from 2014 figures. Jewelry sales are predicted to have the largest jump rising 5.6% since last year. But the majority of Valentine’s Day revenue comes from the smaller items like candy and cards…with the average individual spending a little less than $140. Melissa Imbruglia is a retail analyst for IBIS World.
Imbruglia says it’s not just couples adding to the increase… Singles are also contributing by creating their own events.