Dude, back in Ancient Rome, it was totally normal to smack the person you adore with the hide of a recently killed animal. The "swipe right" of the time, if you will.
Nowadays, it's customary to give a card and candy as a token of one's affection.
But how did we get there? Well, a little of the church's ire, many years, and... umm, commercialism. Yay, America!
It all started with the Romans celebrating the feast of Lupercalia. The celebration lasted February 13th through the 15th. Sacrifice a goat and a dog and, voila, hides to hit on your honey with! Also, they had a matchmaking lottery for the young people; much like the Hunger Games, but for love.
Around 200-300 A.D., Emperor Claudius II executed two men, both named Valentine, on February 14th, of different years in 300 A.D. The Valentines became martyrs and honored by the Catholic Church with the celebration of St. Valentine's Day.
And in the late 400s A.D., Pope Gelasius I forced the two celebrations together - because the whole "down with pagans" thing. On top of all that, the Normans celebrated Galatin's Day (Galatin means Lover of Women) which was likely confused in the mix as the names are similar.
It wasn't until the 1300s that St. Valentine's Day became associated with love and romance and all things warm and fuzzy. Geoffrey Chaucer (a famous poet, but you knew that) ushered in the romanticized Valentine's Day and William Shakespeare really made the ladies swoon for the holiday. In fact, the 1600's (around Shakespeare's time) saw lovers in Europe starting to make and exchange Valentine's Day cards.
Leap forward a good 200 years and you'll find smarty-pants and lady entrepreneur, Esther Howland. That woman saw the money to be made and started selling the very first, mass-produced valentines cards, in the United States.
Esther had things figured out. From recent census findings, there are 150 million Valentine's Day cards and gifts sent out in the United States alone! Approximately 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are sold. The amount of chocolate candy bought during the week of Valentine's Day is 58 million pounds, with $448 million spent on candy! Americans also spend around $8.6 million dollars on sparkling wine for the holiday.
Whether you spend the day like the Ancient Romans (careful of legalities) or as Singles Awareness Day (SAD) or however you will, I hope it's a good day for you.
Happy Valentine's Day!