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February—A Month of Delights

February 06, 2024
Inside HR
Health & Wellness
Read time: 2 mins

The month of February is most notable for Valentine’s Day. The “official” name is St. Valentine’s Day, and although its origins are a bit murky, according to the History Channel, the holiday is thought to have been named after one or more Catholic saints, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest in third-century Rome who, after Emperor Claudius II forbade his soldiers to marry, continued to perform these marriages secretly—an action that resulted in his death.

Valentine’s greetings go back to the Middle Ages, but written messages didn’t appear until after 1400. Sending Valentine’s messages and cards began in earnest in the mid-18th century, and by 1900, printed cards began to replace hand-written notes. Hallmark estimates that 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually in the United States, Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Denmark, and Italy.

Valentine’s Day has become big business. According to NASDAQ, consumers were expected to spend $25.9 billion in 2023 on flowers, cards, chocolates, dinners, jewelry, and other gifts. It is estimated to rank third in spending behind Christmas/other winter holidays and Mother’s Day/Father’s Day in the United States.

February also brings a variety of other days of recognition—particularly related to food. A quick count returns 33 “national days” related to food in the month, ranging from National Dark Chocolate Day to National Cabbage Day (not my favorite) to National Chocolate Souffle Day. A quick, nonscientific sum of the calories consumed should you indulge in all these National Food Day items totals approximately 7,853 calories! That is the equivalent of over 4 days’ worth of calories for a person on an 1,800-calorie-per-day diet!

The day also brings 2 days of note for our members in Iowa and Wisconsin. February 8 is National Iowa Day, and the 15th is National Wisconsin Day. Cheers to you all! Indulge in some of the 7,853 calories!