Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day! It’s a day dedicated to love across the United States and in other places around the world with candy, flowers and gifts exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But do you know who this saint is and where these traditions began?

St. Valentine’s Day is named for a Christian martyr and dates back to the 5th century, with origins in the Roman holiday Lupercalia. While there is the question as to which Valentine holds the true origin, there is no question that the tradition has grown and evolved over the years. While the practice of gifting your Valentine greeting cards was a centuries-long tradition in England, where the holiday was birthed, it wasn’t until Valentine’s Day was “rejuvenated” here in the U.S. in the mid-19th Century that it saw its commercial boom, according to the Library of Congress. In fact, this year consumers are anticipated to spend an average of $196.31 individually and a record total of $27.4 billion, according to data released by the National Retail Federation (NRF).

Where does all that money get spent? The NRF also reports that department stores are the most popular Valentine’s Day shopping destination, visited by 36 percent of shoppers. Thirty-two percent of shoppers are expected to seek gifts at a discount and online stores, while 19 percent at specialty stores, 17 percent at florists, 15 percent at local small businesses. Clothing stores and jewelry shops are tied with 11 percent of shoppers.

Reporting for WGRT, Karly Hurley.