Valentine’s Day has a long and murky history. Most known for its beginnings within the Catholic Church, Valentine’s Day is the namesake of one of three saints either named Valentine or Valentinus, all martyred. My favorite origin story concerns the priest Valentine, who married couples against Emporer Claudius II’s will. The Emperor believed single men were better fit for battle and ordered the priest to be killed as soon as he found out Valentine had been secretly officiating marriages between soldiers and their true loves.
Ah, love: such a brutal and rebellious thing—almost as brutal as, say, Black Friday. But apparently, though the throngs of crowds usually don’t stampede into stores at six in the morning, this holiday was a huge moneymaker for Kansas City. Both Hallmark, one of most popular card companies in the world alongside American Greetings, and Russell Stover, a chocolate company recently acquired by the third largest chocolate producer in North America, Lindt & Sprüngli, raked in the dough this February 14.
According to Fox4, the Kansas City chocolate company made over “Forty thousand berries hand-dipped in their Russell Stover’s secret recipe.” The Stover’s company, though started in Iowa and later Denver, opened its first factory in Kansas City in 1928. By 1932, all operations were based out of KC.
On the same note, Hallmark’s roots started here in 1910, when the 18-year-old Joyce Clyde Hall came to this great city by train with only a shoebox full of postcards. 105 years later, History.com estimates that around 150 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, only superseded by Christmas cards. This year Hallmark had over 100 different Valentine’s designs. Many of them meant not just for spouses but children, grandparents and friends.
In some respects, Kansas City is a true V-Day hub. It’s roots may have started as far back as the 3rd century A.D. with the story of our rebellious priests, but why not consider KC a major part of the day’s history?
Next year, let’s make a splash about the day belonging to Kansas City. Instead of focusing on what flowers to get or where to make the perfect dinner reservations, let’s put this great city on the map. Let’s buy Kansas City original goods, eat at Kansas City renowned restaurants, go to beautiful Kansas Landmarks, and post photos on Twitter and Facebook, tagging them #aKCVDay or #KCtakesVDay or #KCLuvHub.
Philadelphia is known for it’s brotherly love and Virginia is for lovers, but let’s make use of the overconsumption of chocolate and cards and become the city of Valentine’s Day love. Forget St. Patrick—even though our parade stands as the second biggest St. Patty’s Day celebration in the country. Let’s go big on V-Day. Let’s have a parade for the saint that puts Kansas City on the love map, St. Valentine.
Let’s blast our vows of love for Kansas City and not just our lovers. The world needs to know about our love.