By Mallory Sherwood, Features Editor
Unveiling the Mask
The most oxymoronic day of the year approaches quickly.
It is the holiday people around the world both hate and love with passion.
It is a day when lovers stroll hand in hand batting eyes at each other, when men race to Wal-Mart to pick up the last lonely rose, when women fondly think back to the first time they met their special someone.
It is also a day when the single men and women around the world are reminded most of their single status, when all couples become instantly hated, and when it seems that there will never be anyone to be your valentine.
Snap out of it. Valentine’s Day may be known as the lover’s holiday today, but there is so much more that makes the holiday interesting.
As one legend goes, according to historychannel.com, Valentine’s Day began during the rule of Emperor Claudius II in Rome. Claudius the Cruel, as he was known, couldn’t convince men to join the military during this time of bloody wars because they didn’t want to leave their family.
To try to remedy this, Claudius decided to cancel all marriages and engagements in Rome. Valentine, a Christian priest, defended love in the Roman Empire and secretly married couples despite the Emperor’s orders not to. When Claudius found out, he sent Valentine to prison where he remained until his death on Feb. 14.
Who knew Valentine’s Day wasn’t begun because Cupid shoots arrows at people’s hearts to make them fall in love? Who knew he doesn’t even exist?
Besides tales of cruel emperors and romantic priests, here are some interesting facts about Valentine’s Day.
*More than eight billion of the tiny, conversation hearts that Americans especially love to buy around Valentine’s Day, with sayings like “U-R GR8,” and “Be mine,” are produced each year in Wisconsin, Massachusetts and Louisiana. These fat-free, sodium-free candies only contain three calories per small heart and six per big heart.
*In 2004, an estimated 175 million roses were produced for Valentine’s Day. It is also the florist ‘s No. 1 holiday.
*Eighty percent of the men buying roses on Valentine’s Day will give them to their wife or significant others, while the majority of women who buy roses on Valentine’s Day will give them to themselves.
*According to the Society of American Florists, 61 percent of men of all ages would like to receive flowers from a woman on Valentine’s Day.
*Fifty-three percent of women in American would dump their boyfriend if they didn’t get them anything for Valentine’s Day, according to amusingfacts.com.
*Americans spend about $1.2 million on Valentine’s Day candy each year.
*Over one billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year in America, and the most popular recipients, in order, are: teachers, children and mothers.
If you are happily married, dating someone, happily single or otherwise, look at Feb. 14 with a new perspective. It is a day to celebrate romance and love, for everyone. It is not just a day for lovers and swooning couples.
It is a day to show you care. Show yourself, your family, friends, and yes, even your peers how grateful you are for the relationships around you.
Get a shoebox out of your closet, decorate it, see how many Valentine’s Day cards you collect, and if you are really feeling the spirit of your childhood, send your best SpongeBob SquarePants one to that 8:00 Monday morning professor.