Thursday Open Line


While today may not be an official holiday, Valentine’s Day is one of the most popular in the year’s calendar. Its origins are a mix of legends involving two Christian martyrs, a Roman fertility rite, and the old notion that this is the time of year when the birds choose their mates. What is sure is that Esther Howland of Massachusetts began selling the first mass-produced valentines in the 1840s. Today’s occasion falls in the heart of February, which is also National Wedding Month. Some 19 men out of 1,000 get married each year; for women, the rate is over 17½ per thousand. Wyoming leads the nation in marriage rate for both sexes. You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy from the American Community Survey at <www.census.gov>.