Valentine’s Day began as St. Valentine’s Day, a liturgical celebration of one or more early Christian saints named Valentinus. February 14th, Valentine’s, Day first became associated with romantic love during the High Middle Ages as the tradition of courtly love was then flourishing. During 18th century England, this day evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery and sending Valentine cards.
Credit is traditionally given to Pope Gelasius for declaring February 14 as Saint Valentine’s Day around the year 496 to separate the church from the Roman celebration of Lupercalia, an ancient pagan fertility festival which occurred on February 15th.
Superstitions and Fun Facts:
- By tradition, a young girl was supposed to eventually marry the first eligible male she met on Valentine’s Day.
- Some may believe that birds have nothing to do with romance, but in fact, legend has it that if a woman spots a winged creature on February 14, it will predict the type of man she will marry.
- Sparrow signifies someone poor
- Bluebird signifies a happy man
- Blackbird signifies a clergyman
- Crossbill signifies an augmentative man
- Owl signifies a spinster
- Dove signifies a mate for life
- If you see a squirrel on Valentine’s Day, you will marry a cheapskate who will hoard all your money.
- If a girl saw a goldfinch, she would marry with a rich man.
- The son of Venus arouses feelings of love with his Magical Arrows. Today, Cupid’s image covers cards, candy boxes and more.
- Verona, Italy is the location where Shakespeare’s famous lovers Romeo and Juliet lived. The city will receive about 1,000 letters from people that are addressed to Juliet.
- From the Sumerians around 3500 B.C, we have the oldest surviving love poem, which is written on a clay tablet.
- Teachers will receive the most Valentine’s Day cards, followed by children, mothers, wives, sweethearts and pets.
- About 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged in US each year. That’s the largest seasonal card-sending occasion of the year, next to Christmas.
- Women purchase 85% of all valentines.
- Men account for 73 percent of Valentine’s Day flower sales.
- Worldwide, over 50 million roses are given for Valentine’s Day each year.
- Over 50 percent of all Valentine’s Day cards are purchased in the six days prior to the observance, making Valentine’s Day a procrastinator’s delight.
- In Victorian times it was considered bad luck to sign a Valentine’s Day card.
- 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.”
- Valentine’s Day is the second most popular day of the year for sending cards. Christmas is the first most popular.
- Girls of medieval times ate bizarre foods on St. Valentine’s Day to make them dream of their future husband.
- 220,000 is the average number of wedding proposals on Valentine’s Day each year.