Valentine's Day, February 14, is a holiday that celebrates love and friendship in the United States. Most people think of it as a romantic day to show the one you love how much you care by purchasing cards and gifts. Valentine's Day is also an extremely commercial holiday. People spend money on flowers, balloons, chocolate, stuffed animals, and jewelry. People also go out for expensive dinners. Valentine's Day is even celebrated by school children, who give thank-you cards to their teachers. Some high schools have Valentine's Day dances. Classmates give each other little cards. These cards can be purchased at any store with famous cartoon characters. It is considered much more thoughtful to have kids make handmade cards to give to friends and teachers.
Valentine's Day is also a great day to announce your love to someone like a secret crush. Some people even get married on Valentine's Day. However, you don't have to be in love to share in the festivities. You can say "Happy Valentine's Day" to friends and coworkers.
Valentine's Day is not an official holiday though in the U.S., meaning government offices and schools are open as usual. The date used to be the celebration of a Saint named Valentine who allegedly saved a young girl's life. It wasn't until the Middle Ages that romance somehow got mixed in with the date and lovers would send each other handwritten love notes. Back then you couldn't just go to the store and buy a card the way you can now.
You know Valentine's Day is around the corner when stores begin to decorate with red and pink hearts and the symbol of Cupid, a winged ancient Roman god said to strike the hearts of people with his arrow. Now it seems Cupid goes straight after your wallet because you will also see many more jewelry ads as Valentine's Day approaches.
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