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Valentines Day Trivia

St. Valentine's CasketValentine's Day is celebrated on February 14, traditionally in honor of a saint killed on that day in Roman times. Because he was caught marrying Christian couples, he was arrested, imprisoned and sentenced to death under Emperor Claudius in 269 A.D. He is the Patron Saint of engaged couples, bee keepers, epilepsy, fainting, greetings, happy marriages, love, lovers, plague, travellers, and young people. The casket with his remains, located in Dublin Ireland, is shown here. For more information on this saint, see the Saints and Angels website.

This holiday was very popular in medeival Europe, but precisely when candy became the traditional gift given on Valentine's Day is unclear. In the 1860s, Richard Cadbury introduced the first Valentine's Day box of chocolates in England. One of the earliest American Valentine's Day candies was invented by one of the predecessors of the New England Confectionary Company (NECCO), which began manufacturing Conversation Hearts in the 1860s. These heart-shaped candies were renamed Sweethearts in 1902. By the twenty-first century, NECCO produces about 8 billion Sweethearts each year, virtually all within six weeks before Valentine's Day, and they are the best-selling Valentine's Day candy in the world.

By tradition, males give chocolates to their sweethearts, mothers, or wives on Valentine's Day. It is promoted as a day of Cupid and love, and candies have reflected this dimension. Chemicals found in small amounts in chocolate are anandamide, serotonin, endorphins, and phenylethylamine (PEA); in the human brain these chemicals create positive feelings. The aphrodisial effect of chocolate has been greatly exaggerated in advertisement imagery in order to increase sales.

According to the National Confectioners Association, Americans annually spend just over $1 billion for Valentine's Day.

The following information was taken from the Canton Public Library's Pop Culture Universe Database which names the Encyclopedia of Junk Food and Fast Food as its source. Visit this database for more entertaining culture trivia as needed!