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Valentine’s Day: Past and Present
Darcy Cohan,

Today is Valentine’s Day, the holiday that celebrates romance and love and is named for a martyred priest who officiated marriages. The holiday dates back to the 5th century and has origins in the Roman holiday Lupercalia. Although crime, imprisonment and execution lie at the genesis of Valentine’s Day, current tradition calls for people to exchange flowers, candy and gifts with their special someone. And if the past is any guide, 54 percent of people will likely be dining out tonight.

Typically, 33 percent of Americans say they are likely to watch a romantic comedy on Valentine’s Day. However, because certain parts of the country are buried under snow, and one town even cancelled Valentine’s Day this year, that number may spike in 2014. For those of you who are planning a romantic evening at home, Entertainment Weekly has some suggestions of the best romantic movies to watch here.

But, there is also a sizable contingent of Americans who do their best to ignore the holiday. Last year, more than one-third of Americans (35%) said they were not too likely or not at all likely to celebrate the holiday. For those folks, the New York Times suggests several programs to watch on TV here. Don’t expect to see much romance on the small screen, though; according to the article, many programs airing tonight will “reflect our recessionary, sardonic, insecure times.”

For a brief history of Valentine’s Day and more numbers about how American’s celebrate this holiday, check out this cool infographic at The History Channel.

What are your plans tonight? Will you brave the elements for a lavish night on the town or cuddle up on the couch to watch a rom-com with your special someone? Let us know in the comments, and Happy Valentine’s Day!