How we celebrate Valentine's Day

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Did you know that Valentine's Day originated from St. Valentine, a Roman priest under Claudius II's rule who died for refusing to stop performing marriage ceremonies? Before his death, he scribbled a note to one of his last young visitors in jail: "Love from your Valentine." The holiday has since been a time for expressing appreciation for that special someone. Here are some facts on how Americans celebrate:

* It's Americans' third most-popular day for dining out. More than half the people who celebrate opt to do so over dinner.

* The number of men who bought Valentines rose to 17 percent of all cards in 1999, up from 12 percent in 1997. But women still buy the most - 82 percent - many of which are for sweethearts, as well as family and friends.

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* More than 80 million Americans will be single on Valentine's Day.

* Americans will spend an average of $25 on chocolates, flowers, cards, and other gifts for their significant others. And last year, about 14 percent of women sent themselves flowers Feb 14.

* California and Pennsylvania may be the sweetest states. California has the most establishments making nonchocolate confectionary and chocolate products, followed by Pennsylvania.

* Americans ate 26 pounds of candy each in 1999.

Sources: 1800Flowers.com, news wires, Tupperware, the National Restaurant Association, and the National Retail Federation.

(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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