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In the midst of the bleakness of winter—well, for those of us who aren’t lucky enough to live where it’s warm and sunny and, really, we don’t want to think about it—anyway, up here in New York state where it’s cold and cloudy comes a ray of warmth and light: Valentine’s Day.
Have you ever wondered why Valentine’s Day exists at all? Its origin story is almost as interesting as one of the Marvel characters. It includes violence, a martyr, romance and the mating season of birds. Here’s a quick overview.
While there is only speculation behind who is the true Saint Valentine, there are three possible contenders—and all of them were martyrs. Two of them were beheaded by the Roman emperor Claudius II, one for secretly performing marriages that had been outlawed and another for helping Christians escape Roman prisons where they were beaten and tortured. Another was imprisoned and fell in love with the jailer’s daughter, sending her a letter signed “From your Valentine.” No matter who this unlucky saint was, the stories all paint the same Valentine picture: a heroic and romantic figure.
February 14 was declared St. Valentine’s Day by Pope Gelasius at the end of the fifth century, possibly as the Catholic church’s response to a pagan fertility festival called Lupercalia celebrated around that time. During the Middle Ages, the notion that the middle of February was the beginning of birds’ mating season started the idea that Valentine’s Day was associated with love. It was during this period of time that Valentine greetings started becoming popular, although they would have had to have been delivered by horse or on foot and not sent by pigeons because those birds were gettin’busy.
Valentine’s Day has come a long way from love notes penned in Roman prisons by doomed, infatuated saints. Today, an estimated 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year-- only more cards are sent at Christmas. Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all Valentines; hopefully, very few men are beheaded as a result of their mere 15 percent participation.
One sure way to keep your head off the chopping block this Valentine’s Day is to show your tea lover some tea love! Start with our Valentine’s Blend, a heartwarming chocolate black tea blend with pink rosebuds that give this tea a unique sweet floral aroma. If roses aren’t his or her thing, but chocolate is, we’ve got you covered. Try our Chocolate black tea (which also comes in decaf), Chocolate Mint, a black tea with chocolate and peppermint, or our Chocolate Chai Supreme, a classic chai with rich chocolate and vanilla.
But don’t stop there! We’ve got a great selection of treats for your sweet-tea-pie! Whip up a delicious batch of Chocolate Chip or Vanilla scones to serve your Valentine. If scones aren’t your jam, order up some Tate’s Bake Shop Chocolate Chip or White Chocolate Macadamia Nut cookies. If chocolate and our Hot Cinnamon Spice tea are your honey’s favorite, they’ll be over the moon when you give them our new Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea Bar: 46% milk chocolate, 100% Valentine satisfaction.
For gifts that steep on giving, check out our Finest Tea Starter Kit, the first step in getting serious about tea. Is your Valentine already in a long-term tea relationship? Wow them with our beautiful Victorian London Fog Gift Set, so serious about tea it comes with its own tea towel and timer. If your schnookums is always on the go, a Stainless Steel Travel Mug, some Tagalongs and a Mini Electric Travel Kettle will remind them you care no matter where they are. And our Drop It Like It’s Hot Tee is the must-have gift for your Valentine hot-tea.
There’s no reason to panic about what to get your Valentine. Keep your head and find the perfect gift at Harney. We’ll even wrap it for you! Happy Valentine’s Day!
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