Are you thinking about writing a love note to your sweetie on February 14th? Well, you will be in good company since an estimated one billion valentine’s cards are sent each year, according to American Greetings. But does it reflect the meaning behind Valentine’s Day? Here are some more Valentine’s Day trivia and an exploration of what this holiday truly means.
Back to the tradition of sending valentines. Whether or not you truly understand what compels you to send a card, do you know what is the most popular card-sending holiday?
If you said Valentine’s Day, you’d be wrong. But not by much. Valentine’s Day is the second most popular card-sending holiday, with Christmas at number one. Here’s some more valentine trivia: About 85% of the Valentine cards are sent by women. Go figure. (Is it because we are more romantic, or just more expressive and considerate?)
The history of St. Valentine
So, how did it all get started? It turns out that Valentine’s Day has historical roots in both Christian and pagan traditions, like so many other holidays we celebrate. Doing a search for the history of Valentine’s Day will lead you to at least 2 early Christian martyrs, St. Valentine of Rome and St. Valentine of Terni.
Why is Valentine’s Day on February 14?
The official date of Valentine’s Day to be held each February 14 was a declaration of Pope Gelasius. So, yes, the day of love we celebrate every 14th of February started out as a Catholic holiday.
However, no romantic elements are present in the early Medieval biographies of the Pope. According to an article by Jack Oruch, the first recorded association of romantic love with Valentine’s Day is by Geoffrey Chaucer in Parlement of Foules.
Some shocking Valentine Day facts
Some scholars believe that the Catholic Church may have decided to celebrate Valentine’s Day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan Lupercalia festival.
What was the Lupercalia festival?
Lupercalia was a fertility festival in honor of the she-wolf who suckled the fabled founders of Rome, Romulus and Remus.
This Valentine’s Day trivia gets even more shocking. An order of Roman priests called Luperci, would sacrifice 2 goats and a dog, then dress boy participants in the skins. The boys would then run around the city, slapping women and crop fields with goatskin strips, which were believed to instill fertility. Far from being fearful, the Roman women welcomed being touched with the hides. According to legend, later the same day, the young women would place their names in an urn to be paired with the lucky bachelor who drew it from the pot.
Valentine’s Day in modern times
But despite how you feel about the history of Valentine’s Day, don’t forget to show your lover that you care this February 14th in a modern manner. A handwritten love note is much more personal than the standard greeting card, although there are very beautiful cards out there. Just remember to sign your card with a few x’s and o’s.
What is the meaning of the x and o in XOXO?
In case you’ve forgotten the language of grammar school notes, the x’s in XOXO represent kisses with the o’s representing hugs.
Chocolates are a traditional way to show your affection, or better yet, make a romantic dinner for two. You may consider flowers but do you know what the most popular color is for Valentine’s Day flowers? As you may have guessed, it is red, which represents almost 70% of Valentine’s Day flower purchases. I say, go with a less traditional color, perhaps your lover’s favorite.
Of course, if you really want to show adventure and spirit and the history of Valentine’s Day, you could invest in a goatskin hide, especially if your sweetie is a Lupercalian scholar!
More Valentine’s Day trivia questions – can you answer these?
Because we just can’t get enough of fun, Valentine’s day facts!
Which state grows the most Valentine’s Day roses?
What is the purpose of Cupid’s bow and arrow?
Cupid, the god of love, was supposed to have used his arrows to pierce hearts, casting love spells in the process.
Which organ was associated with love in Medieval times? (Hint: it was not the heart!)
The liver was at one time the organ associated with desire.
Who receives the most Valentine’s Day cards?
The heartwarming answer is teachers!
What is the oldest known Valentine?
The oldest Valentine was written by Charles, Duke of Orleans, when he was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415.
What was the original use for candy hearts?
They were originally sold as medicinal lozenges.
What brain chemical is known as the “love hormone”?
What is the best wine for Valentine’s Day?
This article was written in 2010 and most recently updated in January 2022.
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