Just some fun, little-known, or outright weird trivia about the most romantic day of the year. Here are some Valentine’s Day facts so you can know your history and choose the perfect gift.
Valentine’s Day is known for the romance, the flowers, the cards—and of course, the candy! But prominent as it is, this day is also infamous. I’m often stumped when it comes to planning a romantic evening or even keeping a conversation about love and feelings. So, what do I do? Resort to trivia. Bringing up little known facts is always a great way to spice up a conversation—or kill the mood altogether, but hey, it’s good to have the option.
It’s not only about trivia, though. Knowing your Valentine's Day facts can offer an insight into what kind of day it actually is, which in turn will give you a hint as to what to plan for it. For example, if you’re between gifting your S.O. flowers or candy, go for candy. Read on to find out why! Here are 8 interesting facts about Valentine’s you could use to surprise your date.
1. It all started with the Romans
The celebration comes from a pagan Roman festival, called Lupercalia, that was later adopted and redressed by Catholicism. The Catholic Church invoked the named of a mysterious saint whose death date coincided with the festivities.
2. No one really knows who Saint Valentine really was—not even the Church
Very little is known about Saint Valentine. It seems the Church chose to celebrate him merely for political reasons, since his life and deeds were a mystery even to them. In 476 AD, Pope Gelasius I declared that Saint Valentine was one of those martyrs “whose names are justly reverenced among men, but whose deeds are known only to God.” Yep, the very Church that proclaimed the man a saint is confused as to why.
3. Legend has it that St. Valentine was beheaded for marrying couples
One of the stories to explain why the martyr was executed on February 14th is that he was illegally marrying couples in Ancient Rome. Emperor Claudius II was opposed to this, since, by the time’s law, as soon as they were married, men could avoid military service. So, Claudius imprisoned and eventually condemned Valentine.
4. Engagement day
In keeping with Saint Valentine’s spirit, a recent survey by diamond retailer James Allen showed just how popular among millennials Valentine’s Day is for getting engaged. 43% of them chose the celebration as their top day to propose or be proposed to.
5. We owe the popularity of the red rose to Venus
Aphrodite, known to the Romans as Venus, is the mother of Eros, also known as Cupid. You know he is the God of Love, and she is the Goddess of Beauty. Her favorite flowers just so happened to be red roses, and that’s basically why they became associated with love in general, and thus with Valentine’s Day.
6. Card fest
Valentine’s is the second-most popular card-sending day, after Christmas, with about 1 billion cards exchanged globally each year, and 144 million in the US alone.
7. The oldest card
The British Library, in London, holds the oldest-known surviving valentine. It was a French poem composed by the Duke of Orleans to his wife in 1415, while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London.
8. Both men and women prefer candy over flowers
Despite the apparent popularity of gifting flowers, Americans overwhelmingly prefer to receive chocolates over flowers on Valentine’s day, according to the National Confectioners Association. So, keep that in mind before you buy that bouquet this time around!
So, now you know. There’s much more behind Valentine’s Day than meets the eye, and now you’re the wiser. Happy Valentine’s!
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