Daily Calendar for Wednesday, February 14, 2024 | Almanac.com

Daily Calendar for Wednesday, February 14, 2024

The Christian season of Lent begins today, 40 days before Easter (not counting Sundays). Many Christians attend church services on Ash Wednesday to receive ashes on their foreheads in the sign of the cross. (Ashes are a symbol of penance in the Old Testament and in pagan antiquity.) In the Roman Catholic Church, Ash Wednesday is a day of fasting. In the sixth century, Christians who had committed grave faults were obliged to do public penance. On Ash Wednesday, they donned a hair shirt (which they wore for 40 days), and the local bishop blessed them and sprinkled them with ashes. Then, while others recited the Seven Penitential Psalms, the penitents were turned out of the holy place. They could not enter the church again until Maundy Thursday (the Thursday before Easter), when they received absolution.

Although a Christian bishop named Valentine was martyred on February 14 in A.D. 271, there is nothing in this legend to account for the custom of choosing a sweetheart on this day.

By the early 1600s, handmade valentines were customarily sent from admirers to sweethearts. About 1800 the first commercial cards appeared. Cards were usually sent anonymously. As early as 1822, an English official reported having to hire extra postal workers on this day. In 1849, Esther Howland of Worcester, Massachusetts, started selling quality valentines so popular that she was called β€œMother of the American Valentine.”


  • George W. G. Ferris, Jr. (inventor of the ferris wheel) –
  • Florence Henderson (actress) –
  • Gregory Hines (dancer & actor) –
  • Simon Pegg (actor) –
  • Drew Bledsoe (football player) –
  • Rob Thomas (musician) –
  • Freddie Highmore (actor) –
  • Allie Grant (actress) –


  • Pietro Belluschi (architect) –
  • Dolly the sheep (first cloned mammal) –
  • Louie Bellson (big band & jazz drummer) –


  • Captain James Cook, English explorer, was murdered by Hawaiian natives in a scuffle over a stolen boat–
  • James Polk became the first president to be photographed–
  • First Lady Jackie Kennedy conducted a one hour televised tour of the White House–
  • First Double Dutch Jump Rope Tournament was held–
  • Dolly the Cloned Sheep, the world’s first mammal cloned from an adult, put to death, due to lung problems–
  • YouTube founded–
  • A 70-pound meteorite from Barringer Crater in Arizona sold for $237,500 at auction–


  • Valley Head, Alabama, had a record cold temperature of -18 degrees F–
  • Valentine Day Blizzard in southern New England: 10-18”–
  • Mountain Home, Arkansas, received 24 inches of snow–

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