Valentine’s Day is a celebrated around the world and considered a day of love, but there are a few things you just might not know about this sweet, modern day tradition. Here are 15 facts you might not know about Valentine’s Day!
Valentine’s Day History
1. There have been multiple St. Valentine’s throughout history; however, we recognize a specific St. Valentine of Rome. Before being beheaded by the emperor Claudius II around A.D. 270.
- We do not know a lot about his life, but we do know St. Valentine was imprisoned for helping Christian couples wed.
- The Roman Catholic Church removed St. Valentine from the General Roman Calendar, because so little is known about him. However, the church still recognizes him as a saint, listing him in the February 14 spot of Roman Martyrolgy.
- While in prison, St. Valentine wrote a love letter, or valentine, to to blind daughter of possible a judge or a jailor.
2. You can find St. Valentine’s skull in Rome.
- A Roman catacomb was unearthed and revealed skeletal remains and other relics of saints that have been distributed around the world.
- A flower-crowned skull of St. Valentine can be found in the Basilica of Santa Maria in Cosmedin, Rome.
- You can also find other bits of St. Valentine’s skeleton on display in the Czech Republic, Ireland, Scotland, England and France.
3. Valentine’s Day became a holiday due to a medieval poem.
- February 14 was first associated with romance after the medieval English poet Geoffrey Chaucer wrote a poem relating St. Valentine with the tradition of courtly love.
- The poem refers to February 14 as the day birds (and humans) come together to find a mate.
- By the 15th century, February 14 evolves into an occasion to express your love by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards, known as “valentines”.
4. Greeting Cards
- Handmade valentines appeared in the 16th century when companies began to mass produce cards.
- Cards were originally hand painted by workers.
- Lace was introduced in the 20th century.
5. “Tying the knot”
- We commonly use this term today as a reference to getting married.
- In the 17th century, it was common in England for couples to create an endless knot of love, or a true love knot.
- Valentines were drawn as a knot and could be read from any line and still make sense.
6. “Wearing Your Heart on Your Sleeve”
- The saying “wear your heart on your sleeve” cam from a real event.
- One story comes from the Middle Ages during an annual Roman festival. Men would draw names to determine who their sweetheart would be, then wear the name on their sleeve.
- Another story comes from the medieval period when knights would fight on horseback. They would say, if a knight chose to joust in honour of a woman he loves, he would show his loyalty by tying a handkerchief in her colors around his arm.
- The idea is metaphorically showing your heart’s emotions in a visible place on our sleeve.
7. What bird will you see?
- It was once believed that the kind of bird a woman saw on Valentin’s Day determined the kind of man she would marry.
- Robin: She would end up marrying a sailor.
- Sparrow: She would marry a poor man but live a happy life.
- Goldfinch: She would marry a rich man.
- Bluebird: She would marry a happy man.
- Blackbird: She would marry a priest or clergyman.
- Crossbill: She would marry an argumentative man.
Today’s Modern Facts
- Valentine’s Day is one of the most celebrated holidays around the world each year, second to New Year’s!
2. Valentine’s Day is also the second most popular card-giving holiday, second to Christmas.
3. Although the exact origin of the holiday is not widely agreed upon, it is widely recognized as a day for love, devotion and romance.
4. Your pet can be your valentine too! Nearly 10 million pet owners will buy a gift for their pet. Studies also show that dogs and cats relieve love hormones when they see their owners. Valentine’s Day is no exception.
5. More than 36 million heart shaped boxes of chocolate are sold for Valentine’s Day.
6. About 8 billion candy hearts will be produced this year; that’s enough candy to stretch from Rome, Italy to Valentine, Arizona 20 times and back again.
7. The Italian city of Verona, where Shakespeare’s lovers Romeo and Juliet lived, receives about 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet every Valentine’s Day.
8. The oldest surviving love poem till date is written in a clay tablet from the times of the Sumerians around 3500 BC.
Sources: History.com, Catholic.org