Every year on February 14, millions of people across the nation buy flowers, chocolates and balloons in celebration of Valentine’s Day. Where did the tradition of celebrating come from?


Even though the history of St. Valentine and Valentine’s Day is encompassed in mystery, what we do know is Americans started celebrating the holiday in the 1700s. According to history.com, Esther A. Howland started the commercial side of the holiday.


“In 1849, Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America,” the website reads. “Howland, known as the ‘Mother of the Valentine,’ made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as scrap.”


Today, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day come in second as the largest card-sending holiday of the year — Christmas came in first place with 2.6 billion cards sent out — as reported by the Greeting Card Association. Surprisingly, women purchase 85 percent of all valentines.


Many people take their loves to an expensive restaurant to celebrate the night. Restaurant business online reported men prefer bringing their dates to restaurants more than women.


“Nearly one-third of American adults would like to receive a restaurant gift card as a Valentine’s Day gift,” the website states. “Men show a much stronger preference for restaurant gift cards as a Valentine’s Day gift than women do, at nearly half.”


The survey also projected that couples will spend an average of $139 per meal — more than the typical $89 per couple.


Another important decision for the romantic dinner is what type of food to eat. Eater.com did a survey on just that subject by watching for a spike in Google searches around the holiday. The survey found that there was a 27 -percent increase in the Google search for Italian cuisine restaurants around Valentine’s Day from 2010 to 2015, with French trailing at 18-percent.


For those who wish to dine quietly at home for the Valentine’s Day, here is a nice simple three course meal for two courtesy of the Jedi chef.


Sautéed mushrooms


½ pound button mushrooms


¼ stick of butter


1 clove garlic minced


½ cup white wine


Shredded parmesan cheese


Melt butter add garlic until toasted then add wine, Sautee mushrooms then top with cheese.


Sautéed shrimp and pasta


½ pound of shrimp


¼ stick of butter


Pasta of choice


3 tomatoes diced


½ cup salsa


Shredded parmesan cheese


Cook pasta according to directions, melt butter, add shrimp until pink, add seasoning to taste and salsa pour over pasta add fresh diced tomatoes and cheese best paired with sautéed asparagus, or brussels sprouts


Strawberry and chocolate trifle


Chocolate cake mix


Fresh strawberries


Whip topping


Make cake mix as directed, let cool then crumble, puree strawberries fold in whip topping, the in glass or bowl layer crumbled cake the strawberry mix, continue to layer, top with whip topping and sliced strawberries.


History of Valentine’s Day reported by Anna-Melissa Tribune writer Shalene White.