Valentine's Day conjures images of beautiful flowers, heart-shaped balloons, tasty sweets, and heartfelt greetings. Have you ever wondered how February 14 became a day for love? For entertaining and intriguing Valentine's Day facts, check out our collection.
Some of these holiday secrets, like how much Americans spend on the ideal V-Day present or when the first Valentine's letter was written, are anticipated, but others are surprising. Early holiday practices centered on reproduction and animal sacrifice, not romance. (We know, not romantic at all.)
These Valentine's Day trivia facts can help you start a conversation on the most romantic day of the year.
A long-forgotten holiday celebrating pagan love is believed to be the origin of Valentine's Day.
Although a number of historians believe that Valentine's Day is a commemoration of the death of Saint Valentine on February 14, others believe that the holiday actually derives from a Pagan fertility festival known as "Lupercalia," which was observed on February 15 in ancient Rome. This festival was observed to honor the goddess of love and fertility. The day was celebrated by sacrificing animals and smacking women with animal hides, a practice that was believed to encourage fertility. The day was dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome. Both Faunus and Romulus and Remus were believed to have been twin brothers.
It officially became a holiday connected with love in the 1300s.
The date of February 14 was formally named "St. Valentine's Day" by Roman Pope Gelasius around the end of the fifth century. However, it was not until the Middle Ages that the festival became connected with love and passion, a custom that began with the prevalent belief in France and England that birds began their mating season on February 14.
In the 15th century, the first valentine was sent.
According to History.com, the first recorded valentine was a poem written by a French medieval lord called Charles to his wife in 1415. Charles wrote this charming message to his fiancée while imprisoned in the Tower of London at the age of 21. "I am already weary of love, My very sweet Valentine," one of the poem's lines says. Swoon!
The custom of presenting flowers on Valentine's Day goes back to the 17th century.
Giving red roses may seem like an obvious romantic gesture now, but it wasn't until the late 17th century that it became fashionable. In reality, the custom can be traced back to King Charles II of Sweden, who discovered the "language of flowers" — which couples various flowers with particular meanings — during a journey to Persia and later brought it to Europe. Giving flowers became popular throughout the Victorian era, notably on Valentine's Day, with red roses representing profound love.
Cupid originated in Greek mythology.
Cupid is the lovely cherub that appears on Valentine's Day cards, frequently represented with a bow and arrow – but how did he become a popular Valentine's Day symbol? According to Time, the figure dates back to 700 B.C., to the Greek god of love called Eros, who was a gorgeous, immortal man with the scary ability to make people fall in love. It wasn't until the 4th century BCE that the Romans transformed Eros into a lovely young boy with a bow and arrow and dubbed him "Cupid." Cupid's love-matching abilities had made him synonymous with Valentine's Day by the turn of the nineteenth century.
The color of a flower presented on Valentine's Day has significance.
While red roses have historically represented love, other hues like as deep pink, purple, or white, which represent happiness, royalty, and compassion, may also be offered at the festival.
The love letter: Shakespeare started a tradition.
For many people, writing "letters to Juliet" has become a Valentine's Day ritual, and it even inspired the 2010 film Letters to Juliet. Thousands of letters are sent to Verona, Italy, around Valentine's Day, addressed to the Romeo and Juliet figure Juliet Capulet. These Juliet love letters are loaded with emotion, passion, and, in many instances, sorrow. Volunteers known as Juliet's Secretaries read each letter, compose answers, and choose a winner of the "Cara Giulietta" (which translates to "Dear Juliet") reward. The winner will be invited to Juliet's house in Verona for a special ceremony.
"XOXO" was not always synonymous with hugs and kisses.
This time of year, "XOXO" is a common signature. The signature, on the other hand, has its beginnings in the Middle Ages. According to the Washington Post, the "X" represented the Christian cross during those times, and letters finished with the sign of the cross and a kiss to indicate an oath. As the gesture spread in literature, correspondence, and documents, it grew to indicate that something had been "sealed with a kiss."
Dog and Cat lovers spend millions on pet presents too.
Pets are family and need love too! In 2020, 27.6 million Americans gave their dogs Valentine's Day gifts, while 17.1 million gave them cats. Valentine's Day pet presents cost Americans $751.3 million.
American love to spend big on Valentine's Day.
According to the National Retail Foundation, Americans spent over $20 billion on Valentine's Day gifts in 2019 and were anticipated to spend a record $27.4 billion in 2020—including $2.4 billion on chocolates! Valentine's Day was projected to cost $196, with males paying $291 and women $106.
Jewelry is the most popular purchase on Valentine's Day because of the holiday's association with the holiday.
According to the National Retail Federation, the product category that we typically spend the most money on for Valentine's Day is jewelry, with a whopping $5.8 billion expected to be spent on it in 2020. Although chocolate and flowers are two of the most popular Valentine's Day presents, jewelry is the category in which we spend the most money. After clothes, candy, and flowers, the most popular present for Valentine's Day 2020 was an evening out with $4.3 billion, which was followed by flowers, then candy, then clothing.
What is the significance of giving jewelry on Valentine's Day?
The celebration of Valentine's Day as we know it today has its roots in the ancient Roman holiday of Lupercalia, which was a rite meant to aid in the promotion of fertility and health while also driving away bad spirits.
What exactly does it signify when someone offers you a heart necklace as a gift?
When we give our heart to another person in the context of a love relationship, we are in fact giving them a portion of ourselves as well. When you show the person you care about how much you love them by giving them a piece of jewelry with a heart motif. By doing so, you are essentially offering them a piece of your "heart." They will be reminded of both that and the affection that the two of you have whenever they put it on.
On Valentine's Day, close to six million couples celebrate their engagement.
I mean, what other day could possibly be more appropriate for a marriage proposal than a day that is specifically designated to celebrate love and romance? There are as many as six million couples that become engaged on Valentine's Day, making it one of the most popular days to propose to your significant other. And according to the findings of this poll, Valentine's Day was rated the finest day of the year to propose than any other day, and among those who participated in the survey, males made up forty percent of the voting pool!