Valentine's Day is believed to have it's roots in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, a fertility celebration commemorated annually on February 15. Sometime around 496, Pope Gelasius I renamed this pagan festival Valentine's Day and moved it to February 14.
According to the Ipsos-Insight for the American Floral Endowment's Consumer Tracking Study (2004), when a woman buys flowers on Valentine's Day she is most often buying them for herself (27%). Other common recipients include her mother (23%), her significant other (18%), her daughter (8%) or a friend (7%).
Although there were several St. Valentines, most scholars believe Valentine's Day was intended to honor a priest who attracted the displeasure of the Roman emperor Claudius II around 270. Claudius had come to the conclusion that single men made better soldiers, so he outlawed marriage for all young men. Valentine, realizing the injustice of this decree, defied the order and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When his actions were discovered, Claudius II had him put to death.
Charles d'Orléans was captured by the English at Agincourt and then kept prisoner for the next twenty-five years. He passed his time writing sorrowful poetry, including the St. Valentine's Day letter that describes his sadness at being parted from his love.
In 1822, John Cadbury opened a tea and coffee shop in Birmingham, England. He soon expanded into chocolate manufacturing, and in 1861 his son Richard greatly increased sales by packaging Cadbury chocolates in the world's first heart shaped candy box for Valentine's Day.