RVO Staff Writer
Heart-shaped boxes of creamy chocolates, bouquets of roses, and lovey-dovey cards are some of the ways lovers celebrate Valentine’s Day here in the U.S. And February 14th isn’t just a happy day for lovers. In a survey published last month by the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association, companies producing Valentine candy, cards, flowers and novelties are swooning like teenage sweethearts because Valentine’s Day generates more than $13 Billion in revenue.
That’s a whole lotta love!
Okay, so we all know people in the U.S. throw down some serious dough on Valentine’s Day, but how do people in other countries celebrate? What are their customs, traditions?
Here’s a peek.
It’s been said the first Valentine’s Day card originated in France in the 1400s when Charles, Duke of Orleans, sent love letters to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London.
Back in the day, the French followed the tradition “une loterie d’amour” (drawing for love) that matched lovers by the sound of their voice. Single men and women would enter houses facing each other and take turns calling out to one another until they were paired off. If the men didn’t like their match, they left the woman for another man to call. As part of the tradition, the women that didn’t get matched up, got together afterward for a big ceremonial bonfire where they tossed pictures and objects of the men who rejected them, and cursed their names. French officials banned the tradition when the women got too rowdy and out of control. Today, the French take their lovers out for some fine French cuisine and champagne, and it’s the most popular day for men to get down on that bended knee and propose.