The Festival of Romantic Love. . . Valentine’s Day.

The festival of romantic love is celebrated on February 14, throughout the world. What makes this day so special to so many people and for some, it is just another day. I am a true romantic at heart, and am a sucker for all the “Happy” ending movies today, love the Hallmark channel.

As with many Saint related holidays, there are a few legends available to share on who really is St. Valentine. My favorite, “love story”, is about a Catholic priest, named Valentine. During the third century of Rome, Emperor Claudius ll decide that a better purpose for young, single men at the time made better soldiers and therefore outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine, defied Claudius, and continued to secretly perform marriages for young lovers.

Claudius found out and for his disobedience he was sentenced to death. While in prison, Valentine fell in love with a jailor’s young daughter who visited him regularly during his imprisonment. Before his death, on February 14, it is believed he wrote her a letter and signed it, “From your Valentine.”

Fast forward to centuries later, to today, many cards today are still signed, “From your Valentine”. Valentine day is the second most popular card sending Holiday next to Christmas. Approximately 150 million Valentine cards are sent out each year. And this Valentine Day, Americans are expected to spend nearly $19 million on their sweethearts. That’s a lot of love.

When I think of Valentine’s Day, there are so many traditions and symbols that come to mind. Possibly my earliest memory is creating my own Valentines to give out to classmates each year, or the Valentine box we made to put our treasured Valentines in, and of course you had to bring a Valentine for everyone in the classroom so that nobody would feel left out. These same traditions were part of our children’s lives as well, and each year , reappear, unfolding fond memories.

And we could not think of Valentine’s Day without the coveted Heart Shaped box of chocolates. Chocolates have always been a special treat and especially for this day of “Lover’s”, as chocolate for centuries has been associated as being an aphrodisiac. It is not really clear when the symbol of the heart began to represent the source for all emotions, and now, signifying romance and love. This relationship to romance also shows up in the symbol of the cherub or Cupid, the Greek god of erotic love, called Eros.

And what about those chalky candy hearts with a lot to say? Oliver Chase a Boston pharmacist, inadvertly made the first candy making machine when he was trying to simplify the making of throat lozengers, eventually became a very successful Candy business, New England Confectionary Company (NECCO). His brother Daniel, wanting to get in on the action of this very profitable business and inspired by the Valentine card industry, started trying to figure out how to write sentimental messages on candy. His witty messages gained momentum, and 1902 morphed into the candy we know and enjoy, today.

The ultimate over the top symbolism mascot of love, is hands down the favorite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love, the Red Rose. The Red Rose stands for strong romantic feelings. As per CBS this Morning, it is estimated more than $ 2 billion on flowers will be spent for this ONE day. For retailers, Valentine’s Day is the Super bowl of flowers, 91% of imported flowers come into Miami, $22 million/day over a 10 to 15 day period. And every, bouquet of flowers is inspected by Federal Agents, yes, Federal…the claim, looking for any insects. One small bug can hold up the entire farm’s shipment for that day!! The magnitude to how these flowers get from the “ Farm-to-Home”, is mind boggling.

Passion Growers was the featured company in this frontline story, in just one loading session from Bogota, Columbia ( Are we sure the FEDS are just looking for a bug??) , 50 tons of flowers, or 3,000 boxes, were loaded on the plane. That is 300,000 roses, about $1million worth, all packed in 90 minutes!!!

Wow, that really puts systems and efficiency in perspective. As our Team continues to grow, it has been very important we write our policy and procedures down to be consistent and repeatable throughout our company.

As always, Your comfort is our Central Concern, call Central for all your heating, cooling, plumbing , electrical, drain cleaning, and now water treatment needs at 756-6656

Valentine Cocktail:

¼ C Mint infused Simple Syrup**

3 Chocolate Cookies, finely crushed, such as Nabisco Famous Wafers, place on a small plate

10 Raspberries

¼ C Vodka

2 T Cranberry Juice

Fresh Mint Leaves for Garnish

Place Raspberries in a small Pitcher and the simple syrup…muddle, add vodka and cranberry juice, add a half a cup of ice, and stir…dampen ridge of 4 Martini glasses and dip into crumbled cookie mixture…Strain Cocktail evenly into each glass. ENJOY…

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