Valentine’s Day is celebrated on 14 February each year. Conventional Valentine Day ideas comprise red roses, chocolate boxes, love letters and Valentine cards. Meanwhile, many lovers and singles do not believe in celebrating this day and consider it an exhibit of love that can be done at any time of the year. But love it or hate it, you simply cannot ignore Valentine’s Day. Don’t you want to dig more into Valentine Day’s facts to impress your date?
Moreover, this makes us wonder how this day came into being and became so popular among many and what is it about the day that makes people fall in love even more?
From knowing the origin of the age-old celebration to unique traditions and the significance of the number of roses gifted, some of these lesser-known trivia about Valentine’s Day might surprise you.
Here are some fascinating Valentine’s Day facts you might not know
Valentine’s Day origin
There are two theories when it comes to the origin of Valentine’s Day.
Historians believe that Valentine’s Day was derived from Lupercalia, a Roman fertility festival. The occasion was celebrated in a unique way, which is also termed as “sexual play”, with young, unwed women to increase their fertility.
The other theory says that it is also believed that Emperor Claudius II, a Roman emperor, didn’t allow couples to marry during wartime. But Saint Valentine was against this and performed secret weddings. As a result, he was imprisoned and executed for his actions.
Before his death, he sent a letter to his lover, the jailer’s daughter, and signed it off as “From your Valentine.” Since then, 14 February is celebrated as Saint Valentine’s Day, a day to mourn his death or burial.
And all this while we thought Valentine’s Day began on a sweet note.
14 February marks the beginning of the official mating season of the birds
It is believed that the end of unforgiving winters and the beginning of the pleasant spring season also prompt birds to procreate in England and France. Taking a cue from birds, we started associating this holiday to celebrate love since the middle ages.
Who started the concept of commercially produced cards for Valentine’s Day?
Traditionally, Valentine Day’s ideas included writing letters to loved ones. Handwritten and simple, but after the 18th-century, things changed as these cards were mass-produced by an American woman named Esther A. Howland, who specialised in handmade beautiful cards using lace and ribbons in the 1840s.
All about Cupid
It might be a bit odd to note that one of the symbols of romantic love as populated by the mainstream literature and media is actually a cherubic infant but there is a reason for this. Greek mythology noted the God of Love to be Eros, (which also is a Greek name for desire) son of Goddess Aphrodite who is known as a deity of love, pleasure and beauty. He was known to make wrong people fall in love with one another on a whim and cause destruction.
This narrative changed as the Roman era began. Instead of an intimidating young man, literature focused on painting Eros as a chubby little child who is mischievous at best but not a cause of the mayhem. The Romans named him Cupid, who is controlled by his mother Goddess Venus, who is a Roman version of Aphrodite.
Number of roses and their significance
Red roses are the favourite flowers of Venus, the Roman goddess, and the red bud represents strong romantic feelings.
So, it is no surprise why red roses are bought or sold the most, followed by chocolate and jewellery. As per data gathered by The Society of American Florists in 2018, about 250 million roses are produced in the US on Valentine’s Day. According to the US National Retail Federation, Americans spent USD 23 billion on Valentine’s Day gifts for partners, friends and pets in 2022.
In Singapore, the number of roses you buy determines how affluent you are. Interestingly, there is a significance to the number of roses you give or receive on Valentine’s Day.
While receiving one stalk signifies quick love, giving two or 15 means an apology. If you get 12 stalks, the person wants you or wants to get married to you. If you are lucky enough to get 50 stalks or more, it’s said to signify a love that will last into a ripe age.
No wonder roses are the most popular flowers given on Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day chocolate box
Chocolates are sold in massive amounts as Valentine’s Day gifts. Ever wondered who began this tradition?
The first box of heart-shaped chocolates was introduced by Richard Cadbury in 1868.
Richard hailed from a family that made chocolates. So, he used the special holiday to produce Valentine’s Day chocolates along with a variety of other products.
Aren’t we all grateful to him for that?
South Korea, the land of love
In South Korea, Valentine’s Day is celebrated over three days, each from one month starting February.
On 14 February, women give chocolates to men. Then on 14 March, women receive candies from men and finally, on 14 April, the singles eat jajjangmyeon, or black bean noodles.
Much before Tinder
In the Middle Ages, when dating apps like Tinder didn’t exist, youngsters looking for love drew names from a bowl to see who their Valentine would be.
What we found amusing was one of their Valentine’s Day ideas was ‘wearing your heart on your sleeve’, literally. These young men and women would pin the name they found on their sleeves for a week. This was done so that everyone, including the special someone, could see how they feel wearing the name tag, which would show their true feelings.
According to a report by the National Confectioners Association, almost 86 percent of Americans gifted chocolate and candy on Valentine’s Day in 2021.
Candy hearts were first introduced as medical lozenges by Boston pharmacist Oliver Chase in 1847. He made the first candy-making machine back then. After identifying the potential in the candy business, he shifted his focus to producing candies with Necco wafers.
One of the most popular Valentine Day’s ideas are gifting personalised candy boxes to lovers. The candies that come in boxes contain different labels such as “True Love,” “Hug Me” and “You Rock”. Interestingly, about 10 new labels are added each year. You can also personalise these labels to gift the best valentine’s day box to your loved one.
Valentine’s Day celebrations across the globe
We did some digging and found some more interesting Valentine’s Day ideas and trivia for you.
Valentine is the name of a town in Texas, USA, that got its name from saint Valentine.
To boost chocolate consumption in the country, Ghana declared 14 February as its National Chocolate Day.
In the Philippines, 14 February seems to be the most common wedding anniversary date because there has been a rise in marriages over the past decade.
Some Nordic countries, such as Finland, celebrate it as the Day of Friends or Friendship Day. Cards and gifts are exchanged with lovers, family members and friends.
On this day in Japan, women take the lead and buy chocolates and gifts for their beloved. The sweethearts return the favour on 14 March, which is marked as White Day.
(Main and featured image credit: Loe Moshkovska/Pexels)