Valentines Day

Valentine's Day is February 14

There are various theories on the origin of Valentine's Day, but the most popular dates back to the time of the Roman Empire during the reign of Claudius II, 270 AD. Claudius didn't want men to marry during wartime because he believed single men made better soldiers. The good Saint Valentine, who was a priest in Rome in the year 269 A.D., together with his friend Saint Marius, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine's actions were discovered, he was sentenced to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. But while in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl, who may have been his jailor's daughter, who visited him during his confinement. Before his dealth on the 14th day of February, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed, "From your Valentine."

Valentine's Day-related history

  • The ancient Romans celebrated the Feast of Lupercalia on February 14th in honor of Juno, the queen of the Roman gods and goddesses. Juno was also the goddess of women and marriage.
  • Many believe the 'X' symbol became synonymous with the kiss in medieval times. People who couldn't write their names signed in front of a witness with an 'X.' The 'X' was then kissed to show their sincerity.
  • Girls of medieval times ate bizarre foods on St. Valentine's Day to make them dream of their future spouse.
  • In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who would be their Valentine. They would wear this name pinned onto their sleeves for one week for everyone to see. This was the origin of the expression "to wear your heart on your sleeve."
  • In 1537, England's King Henry VII officially declared February 14th the holiday of St. Valentine's Day.

Chocolate

  • Casanova, well known as "The World's Greatest Lover," ate chocolate to make him virile.
  • Physicians of the 1800's commonly advised their patients to eat chocolate to calm their pining for lost love.
  • Richard Cadbury produced the first box of chocolates for Valentine's Day in the late 1800's.
  • More than 35 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate will be sold for Valentine's Day.
  • Over $1 billion worth of chocolate is purchased for Valentine's Day in the U.S.

Flowers

  • 73% of people who buy flowers for Valentine's Day are men, while only 27 percent are women.
  • 15% of U.S. women send themselves flowers on Valentine's Day.

Roses

  • The red rose was the favorite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love.
  • Red roses are considered the flower of love because the color red stands for strong romantic feelings.
  • 189 million stems of roses are sold in the U.S. on Valentine's Day.
  • California produces 60 percent of American roses, but the greater number sold on Valentine's Day in the United States are imported, mostly from South America.
  • Approximately 110 million roses, mostly red, will be sold and delivered within the three-day Valentine's Day time period.

Greeting Cards

  • Approximately one billion Valentines are sent out worldwide each year according to estimates by the U.S. Greeting Card Association. That's second only to Christmas.
  • Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all Valentines.
  • Teachers will receive the most Valentine's Day cards, followed by children, mothers, wives, sweethearts and pets.
  • Hallmark produced its first valentine in 1913.
  • Today, Hallmark employs an 80-person research staff to analyze the sales pattern of previous valentines. That analysis, combined with more than 100,000 annual customer interviews, focus groups and in-store observations, will help create roughly 2,000 cards in Hallmark's core Valentine's Day line.
  • Over 50 percent of all Valentine's Day cards are purchased in the six days prior to the holiday.

More fun facts about Valentine's Day

  • In addition to the United States, Valentine's Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, France, Australia, Denmark, and Italy.
  • The most fantastic gift of love is the Taj Mahal in India. It was built by Mughal Emperor Shahjahan as a memorial to his wife.
  • Every Valentine's Day, the Italian city of Verona, where Shakespeare's lovers Romeo and Juliet lived, receives about 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet.
  • About 3% of pet owners will give Valentine's Day gifts to their pets.
  • In the US, 64 percent of men do not make plans in advance for a romantic Valentine's Day with their sweethearts.
  • The phrase "Sweets for the sweet" is a line from Shakespeare's Hamlet, Act 5, Scene 1.

The price of love

  • The average American will spend $119.67 on Valentine’s Day this year, up from $100.89 last year.
  • Men spend almost twice as much on Valentine’s Day as women do. This year, the average man will spend $156, while the average woman will only spend $85.
  • More than one-third of men would prefer not receiving a gift. Less than 20 percent of women feel the same way.
  • Around this season, a dozen long-stemmed roses can cost an average of $75, or about 30% more than the normal price of $58.
  • More than nine million pet owners are expected to buy gifts for their pets this Valentine's Day.

Finally...even more trivia

Click here for even more Valentine's Day facts and trivia.