Whether you’re single and ready to mingle or coupled up for Valentine’s Day, here are a few fun facts about the most romantic day of the year that you may or may not be familiar with.
1. Valentine’s Day gets its name from a famous saint or from a Roman festival
Saint Valentine was a priest from Rome in the third century AD during the reign of Emperor Claudius II. The Emperor had banned marriage because he thought married men made bad soldiers, but Valentine felt this was unfair, and broke the rules to arrange marriages in secret. When Claudius found out, Valentine was thrown in jail and sentenced to death. Saint Valentine was martyred and buried at a Christian cemetery in Rome on 14th February which has been observed as the Feast of Saint Valentine or Valentine’s Day since 496 AD.
Another theory is that the day originated from a Roman festival. The Romans had a festival called Lupercalia in the middle of February which was officially the start of their springtime
2. One billion Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year
Valentines is the second largest seasonal card sending time of the year, topped only by Christmas and followed by Mother’s Day.
3. Men buy more flowers, women buy more gifts
It is estimated that 73 percent of people who buy flowers on Valentine’s day are men and 27 percent are women. The red rose was the favourite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love and is the ‘go-to’ flower for Valentine’s Day. While red symbolizes romantic love, beauty, courage and respect, white roses symbolize true love, purity, innocence, and charm.
4. Experiential gifts are on the rise
New figures show we are continuing to spend more and more money on an ‘experience gift’. Tickets to a concert, a weekend away and an evening out are all examples of popular gift options for Valentine’s Day. This gift option is particularly popular with millennials.
5. Christmas is more popular than Valentine’s day for wedding proposals
Never mind Valentine’s Day, the festive season is still the most popular time of the year for men and women to pop the question. While the majority of weddings take place in the summer months, an estimated 100,000 proposals happen over the Christmas period with Christmas Day, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve being the preferred days for proposals while friends and family are gathered together.
6. Wearing your heart on your sleeve is more than just a phrase
In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names to see who their Valentine would be. They would wear the name pinned to their sleeve for one week so that everyone would know their supposed true feelings.
7. You don’t have to be lovers to celebrate Valentine’s Day
Instead of celebrating Valentine’s Day, Finland celebrates Ystavanpaiva. Translated as ‘Friends Day’, cards are given and received by friends rather than lovers. In Japan, because of a translation error made by a chocolate company, only women buy Valentine chocolates for their spouses, boyfriends, or friends. In fact, it is the only day of the year many single women will reveal their crush on a man by giving him chocolate. The men don’t return the favour until White Day, a type of “answer day” to Valentine’s Day, which is on 14th March.
8. The world’s largest group kiss
Was recorded on Valentine’s Day 2010 in Mexico City with 39,897 people. The longest kiss lasted 58 hours, 35 minutes and 58 seconds, achieved by Ekkachai Tiranarat and Laksana Tiranarat in Thailand.
9. Symbols of love
The symbol of the ribbon, which often adorns Valentine’s Day cards is rooted in the Middle Ages, when knights competed in tournaments. Their sweethearts often gave them ribbons for good luck. Lace is also used frequently on Valentine decorations or cards. The word “lace” comes from the Latin laques, meaning “to snare or net,” as in to catch a person’s heart.
10. What happened on 14th February in….
2005 Former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was assassinated
2003 Dolly the sheep was put to death. She was the first mammal to be cloned from an adult but showed signs of premature aging and had contracted various diseases
1949 The Knesset, the parliament of Israel, convened for the first time
1876 The telephone was patented. Both Alexander Bell and Elisha Gray applied for a patent on the same day. Bell won