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  • By Susan Welsh

Let me call you Sweetheart #LOVE

The origin of Valentine's Day sounds more like the synopsis of an award-winning HBO series for mature audiences than the romantic and commercially lucrative business it's become today.

Rooted in the Roman feast called Lupercalia, it involved pagan rituals, and a lot of naked and drunken revelry--a far cry from today's (usually) more G-rated holiday celebrated with candy and cards.

Of course it took the likes of Chaucer and Shakespeare to class Valentine's day up with a romantic literary touch. Early tokens of handmade paper cards eventually gave way to mass produced factory cards and with the advent of the industrial age Hallmark debuted its first Valentine's Day card in 1913, now part of a tradition with "approximately 144 million cards being exchanged industry-wide."

One of the oldest and most ubiquitous Valentine's Day treats are conversation hearts or Sweethearts. This candy, in the familiar rectangular box, dates back to 1847 when Daniel Chase devised a machine that would press food dye letters onto the NECCO lozenges his brother Oliver had already made famous.

I remember the classics, with sayings like, "Kiss Me" and "Be Mine," but Necco has stayed relevant, including modern colloquialisms and including the lexicon of the tech-saavy with sayings like "Text Me" and "Tweet Me." The first hashtag heart premiered in 2014 with #LOVE, and a year later included a mustache emoji.

I'd like to personalize a few for my own candy dish. They would include #Nevertheless, She Persisted #Love Is Love, and #Fly, Eagles, Fly!

What's trending on your conversation heart this Valentine's Day?

Please send me your comments. . .

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