Valentine’s Day, another opportunity for me to forget a “special” occasion for my wife and be riddled with guilt. As if remembering to buy gifts on Christmas, birthdays, Easter, anniversaries, ground hog’s day, mother’s day, and of course helping my kids pull off an April Fools prank isn’t enough! Valentine’s Day, celebrated on February 14th, was established in AD 500 and has traditionally been a day for lovers to display affection for each other by offering gifts of cards, candy, and flowers. It is thought that the designation “Valentine’s Day” came from a Christian martyr or martyrs named Valentine. According to the website of the National Confectioners Association (NCA), one of those men, a priest named Valentine, was beheaded by order of the Roman emperor Claudius II on February 14th 270 AD because he was performing marriage ceremonies, something the emperor had outlawed. The website also says that more than 36 million boxes of heart shaped candy are sold for Valentine’s Day. Another tradition related to Valentine’s Day, in no way connected to lovers, is for children to exchange valentines at school. Our three children usually come home with dozens of valentines, and most of them have heart shaped candy, a sucker, or some form of cavity-causing delicacy attached to them. It’s really no surprise, then, that so many people think more candy is sold for Valentine’s Day than any other holiday. The truth is, however, that Valentine’s Day ranks fourth on the list of holidays for candy purchases. According to sales figures for 2007 compiled by the National Confectioners Association based upon data from Information Resources, Inc., and cited in an article published in Confectioner (2007), the top four selling holidays for candy were Valentine’s Day (1 billion), Christmas (1.4 billion), Easter (1.9 billion) and Halloween (2.1 billion). Trick or treat!
Echeandia, J. Candy review: Holiday candy sales insights courtesy of Hershey Company; Seasonal candy sales for 2007 grew at Valentine and Easter in spite of short selling seasons. Confectioner (May 2007).