Valentine’s Day Over the Years in Canada

Every February 14, across Canada, gifts are exchanged between loved ones for the Valentine’s day holiday. While some believe that Valentine’s day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of a Christian saint named Valentine from around A.D. 270, others claim the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February to replace the pagan celebration of Lupercalia, a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture and to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.

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The first written Valentine’s

birds canadaValentine greetings were popular in Britain as far back as the Middle Ages, though written Valentine’s did not begin to appear until after 1400. Around the year 1380, the English poet Chaucer wrote a poem for the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II to Anne of Bohemia. This is thought to be the first association between celebrations of romantic love and St Valentine’s day on February 14. The connection remained important throughout the middle ages.

The start of Valentine’s day in Canada

In Canada, awareness of Valentine’s day began towards the middle of the nineteenth century. By 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Over the years, ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions. In the States and then in Canada, the industrialists and the manufacturers of paper lace and cards worked hard to promote their products, creating a change in the numbers of cards being sent to include everyone in the holiday. Over the years since the mid nineteenth century, Canadians continue to profess their love for their partner and sweetheart. What is no longer the same are the fact that gifts of chocolate, jewelry and lingerie are added to the gift of a love message.

Looking for love

With fifteen million Canadians living together as a couple. including common-law partners and same and opposite sex relationships and eleven million single Canadians it is not surprising that over eighty percent of Canadians plan to celebrate Valentine’s day with more than half including their children and other family members in their plans. Half of the single men and women in Canada hope to find love for Valentine’s day.

Popular Valentine’s day gifts in Canada

dessertsThe most popular Valentine’s day gifts remain the classics: cards, candy, and flowers. Although the emphasis is usually on those in romantic relationships, more than a third of single Canadians plan on giving gifts to loved ones.

Over the years, the amount of money spent of Valentine’s day continues to rise. In 2007, Canadians spent $97 on Valentine’s day gifts, three times as much they did in 2012. By 2016 the average Canadian spent $164. The most expensive gifts are jewelry, followed by tickets to an event or show, then lingerie and the cheaper gifts of flowers and candy. Albertans and Quebecers spend most of their Valentine’s day gift budget on flowers, Ontarians on jewellery, while British Columbians spend the most on candy.

What Canadian men and women want

girl with mapCanadian women are evenly split between who they think should pay for the Valentine’s day date. One third said the man, approximately another third suggested the cost should be split and just under a third said it should alternate between the two. Just five percent of women believed the woman should pay. Nearly two-thirds of Canadian men said the man should pay, a fifth said it should alternate, a sixth would split the bill and four percent said the woman should pay.

Over the years, Valentine’s day has changed into a commercial success for manufacturers. What is interesting to see in 2016 is that nearly half of Canadian men and women say their ideal Valentine’s day gift is simply “spending time together” over and above receiving a gift. This is going back to the origins of Valentine’s day, a day to exchange words of love and appreciation. That has remained the same since the mid-nineteenth century.

Most Canadian couples prefer sex to a gift. Dinner at a restaurant, a home-cooked meal and a romantic night at home are the top three ways couples in Canada spend Valentine’s day. The trend towards sharing a meal together is growing.

Canadian men are more generous than Canadian women, with men spending more than double. The biggest spenders are those couples spending their first Valentine’s day together. With the day becoming less important the longer the couple are together. To avoid over-crowded and over-priced restaurants, almost a quarter of Canadians now celebrate Valentine’s day on a different day in order to avoid the crowds.

Valentine’s day for children

In Canada, a more general celebration of love and appreciation of people who are personally important to an individual sees children to exchange Valentine’s day gifts with their friends. In a number of schools, Valentine’s day parties are arranged, where the children are asked to place their home-made valentine’s card in an ornamented box. Later on, these gifts are distributed by the teacher or a classmate.