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Valentine’s Day, a holiday synonymous with love and romance, has a rich and often surprising history peppered with weird facts. From its ancient origins to modern-day traditions, this holiday has evolved in ways that might change how you see it. Here are 14 interesting Valentine’s Day facts that offer a unique perspective on this widely celebrated occasion.
Ancient Roman Festival Origins
Valentine’s Day has roots in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, a fertility celebration commemorated annually on February 15.
First Valentine’s Day Card
The oldest recorded Valentine’s Day card dates back to 1415. It was written by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London.
Wearing Your Heart on Your Sleeve
In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names to see who their Valentine would be, then wore the name pinned on their sleeve for a week.
In the 19th century, ‘vinegar valentines’ were sent to reject unwelcome suitors. They were the opposite of today’s sweet Valentine’s greetings.
Birds and Valentines
It was commonly believed in England and France that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the notion that Valentine’s Day should be a day for romance.
The Heart Shape’s Origin
The heart shape was originally associated with ivy leaves, known for their longevity and often used in art to symbolize eternal love.
Valentine’s Day and Pets
In recent years, it’s become increasingly popular to give Valentine’s Day gifts to pets, with millions of people celebrating their love for their animal companions.
In Japan, it’s customary for women to give chocolates to men on Valentine’s Day, with men returning the favor a month later on White Day.
The First Box of Chocolates
Richard Cadbury produced the first box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day in the late 1800s, kicking off the tradition of giving boxed chocolates.
In some cultures, unique Valentine’s Day gifts include garlic for good luck and onions, which are considered symbols of eternal love in some parts of the world.
Mass Wedding Celebrations
In the Philippines, Valentine’s Day is a popular day for mass wedding ceremonies, with hundreds of couples sharing a wedding date.
Valentine’s Day Ban
Some countries have attempted to ban or limit the celebration of Valentine’s Day, viewing it as a Western influence that clashes with traditional values.
Greeting Card Popularity
Valentine’s Day is the second-largest card-giving holiday after Christmas, with millions of Valentine’s Day cards exchanged annually around the world.
Increased Flower Sales
Flower sales, particularly roses, see a significant surge around Valentine’s Day, symbolizing love and affection. This tradition has become a staple of the holiday, with florists preparing months in advance to meet the high demand, showcasing the lasting importance of traditional romantic gestures in the modern age.
Michelle Harler is the founder of Guide2Free, a website dedicated to finding and sharing freebies, product testing opportunities, and other ways to save money. With over a decade of experience in the industry, her expertise in finding quality offers makes Guide2Free an invaluable resource for anyone looking to try new products and save money.