Valentine's Day, Love and Sweet Treats
Every February 14, flowers, chocolates and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint, and where did these traditions come from?
Valentine’s Day is named in honour of Saint Valentine, the patron saint of lovers who was murdered on Feb. 14 AD 270. During that time, the Roman emperor Claudius II cancelled all marriages in Rome, as he was finding it difficult to get men to join the military and believed married men, being emotionally attached to their wives and families, did not make good soldiers.
Valentine secretly married couples until he was caught and sentenced to death. One legend suggests he left a farewell note for the jailer’s daughter before his death that said, “Love from your Valentine,” the first Valentine’s card. It was the pope who set aside February 14 to honour St. Valentine in AD 496. However, the day was not often celebrated until the Middle Ages. Gift giving and exchanging of hand-made cards became common in England around the 18th century, while in the 1840’s the holiday caught on in the United States.
Valentine’s Day is generally a day about love, cards, chocolates and flowers however; the day is celebrated differently around the world. For example, in Spain books are given, while in Finland the day marks the honouring of friendship and in South Korea and Japan women give chocolates to men.
Some interesting facts about Valentine’s Day:
- In medieval times girls ate bizarre food, as they believed that this would enable them to meet their future spouse in their dreams on this day.
- Physicians of the 1800s commonly advised their patients to eat chocolate to calm their pining for lost love.
- Throughout history, chocolate has always been seen as an aphrodisiac: Madame DuBarry served chocolates to all of her suitors, Casanova consumed chocolate instead of champagne to induce romance, and the ancient Aztec king, Montezuma believed chocolate would make him virile.
- Richard Cadbury invented the world's first heart shaped Valentine's Day chocolate box during the Victorian era in 1822.
- According to statistics, more than 35 million heart-shaped boxes are sold on Valentine's Day every year.
- Approximately 8 billion candy hearts are manufactured each year for Valentine’s Day.
At Fournos bakery we believe that nothing says, "I love you," quite like a sweet treat. Pop into one of our stores and choose from a wide variety of delicious delights a sure why to seduce ant heart!
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