We've got 14 'who knew?' facts about February 14
We all know that Valentine’s Day (also known as Feast of Saint Valentine) is celebrated on February 14th to show our loved ones how much they are adored.
But who was St. Valentine? Why do we send chocolates? Where does the red rose tradition come from? We’ve done some digging and found all the facts you need to know about the big day…
1. Where did Valentine’s Day come from?
The most popular theory says that Emperor Claudius II didn’t want Roman men to marry during wartime, but a chap called Bishop Valentine went against his wishes and performed secret weddings.
2. Why is it celebrated on February 14?
In 1537, King Henry VII officially declared February 14 as the holiday of St. Valentine’s Day – and it has stuck ever since.
3. Why are red roses traditional?
The red rose was the favourite flower of Venus – the Roman goddess of love.
4. When was the first Valentine’s Day card sent?
The Duke of Orleans sent the earliest Valentine’s card to his wife whilst he was a prisoner in the Tower of London in the 15th century.
5. Why does an ‘X’ symbolise a kiss?
People in medieval times who couldn’t write their names signed in front of a witness with an X which they then kissed to show their sincerity.
6. Who is Cupid?
Cupid is the son of Venus, the god of beauty and love.
7. Why is red the colour of Valentine’s Day?
It was once believed that the heart was the part of the body that the feeling of love came from. As the heart pumped red blood around the body, the colour became the symbol of love.
8. How many love notes do we write?
Around billion Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged across the world each year, making it the second largest card sending time of the year after Christmas.
9. Who first wore their heart on a sleeve?
A tradition began in the Middle Ages where men and women would draw names from a bowl to see who would be their Valentine. They would then wear the piece of paper on their sleeve for a week.
10. How do other cultures celebrate Valentine’s Day?
Finland calls Valentine’s Day Ystävänpäivä, which translates into ‘Friend’s day’. It’s all about celebrating your friends rather than your partner.
11. Why do we gift chocolates?
Richard Cadbury first gave chocolates to his beloved in a heart-shaped box in 1868.
12. What about the singles?
Valentine’s Day also doubles as Singles Awareness Day in many countries. In China, however, it is celebrated on Nov 11 and singletons are known for treating themselves to some online shopping. The date has been dubbed China’s ‘Black Friday.’
13. How many roses are sent?
Approximately 50 million roses are received on Valentine’s Day around the world.
14. What about our beloved pets?
At least 9 million people buy their pets a gift on Valentine’s Day. We wonder if that includes fish?!
How will you be celebrating Valentine’s Day this year?