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Don't forget the chocolate Friday; Sumter Item shares Valentine's Day trivia

BY BRUCE MILLS
bruce@theitem.com
Posted 2/13/20

As we approach Valentine's Day on Friday - "and please, don't forget it" - love is in the air as always.

Feb. 14 is the traditional day on the calendar that Americans celebrate love and friendship by exchanging cards, flowers and candy.

In …

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Don't forget the chocolate Friday; Sumter Item shares Valentine's Day trivia

Posted

As we approach Valentine's Day on Friday - "and please, don't forget it" - love is in the air as always.

Feb. 14 is the traditional day on the calendar that Americans celebrate love and friendship by exchanging cards, flowers and candy.

In tribute to the occasion, The Sumter Item decided to do a little research on what is often referred to as "The Day of Love" in people's hearts.

According to The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., the origins of Valentine's Day are somewhat murky. Ancient Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia, a spring festival, on Feb. 15.

Later, the holiday was moved to Feb. 14 - the saint day associated with several early Christian martyrs named Valentine, according to historians.

The romance we associate with Valentine's Day, according to The Library of Congress, may actually spring from the medieval belief that birds selected their mates on - you guessed it - Feb. 14.

CHOCOLATE AND VALENTINE'S DAY

Today, chocolate is a favorite for many on the holiday.

Interestingly, the largest chocolate manufacturer in North America and one of the largest in the world is The Hershey Co., more commonly known as Hershey's. The company is headquartered in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

Here's some trivia: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Pennsylvania ranks second in the U.S. in total number of chocolate makers with 119 in 2017.

What exactly is a "chocolate maker," one might ask?

The North American Industry Classification System - often referred to as NAICS - defines the chocolate and chocolate confectionery manufacturing industry as consisting of companies that manufacture chocolate and chocolate confectioneries from cacao beans, or manufacture chocolate confectioneries from chocolate produced elsewhere. Those products are then generally sent to retailers for sales and consumption.

What state is No. 1 and tops for number of chocolate makers?

It's California, the biggest state in terms of population. California had 137 chocolate manufacturers in 2017, according to the Census Bureau. New York followed in third place with 113.

Interestingly, Wisconsin, known as "America's Dairyland" and "The Dairy State," is in the top 10 with 52 chocolate makers. South Carolina was way down the list of 50 states with nine firms, as of 2017, according to the bureau.