Did You Know?
There are different opinions as to who was the original Valentine was, but the most popular theory dates back to the time of the Roman Empire and the reign of Claudius II, 270 AD. Claudius believed that single men made better soldiers and did not want his men to marry during wartime. Bishop Valentine went against his wishes and performed secret wedding ceremonies. Valentine was jailed and then executed by order of the Emperor on February 14. While in jail, he wrote a love note to the jailor's daughter signing it, "From your Valentine." In any event, in 496 A.D., Pope Gelasius set aside February 14 to honor St. Valentine. Through the centuries, the Christian holiday became a time to exchange love messages and St. Valentine became a patron saint of lovers. In the 1840s, Esther Howland, a native of Massachusetts, is given credit for sending the first Valentine cards. The spirit of love continues as valentines are sent with sentimental verses and children exchange valentine cards at school.
- The most fantastic gift of love is the Taj Mahal in India. It was built by Mughal Emperor Shahjahan as a memorial to his wife.
- Cupid is a symbol of Valentine’s Day. Cupid was associated with Valentine’s Day because he was the son of Venus, the Roman god of love and beauty.
- The Roman Lupercalia, a celebration of fertility began on February 14th. The date was later borrowed by the early Christians to celebrate a martyr by the name of Valentine.
- Ancient Romans believe that birds mated on February 14th.
- In the middle Ages, people believed that the first unmarried person of the opposite sex you met on the morning of St. Valentine's Day would become your spouse.
- Teachers receive the most Valentine's Day cards, followed by children, mothers, wives, and then, sweethearts. Children between ages 6 to 10 exchange more than 650 million Valentine's cards with teachers, classmates, and family members.
- A single perfect red rose framed with baby's breath is named by some florists as a "signature rose," and is the preferred choice for most for giving on Valentine's Day, anniversaries and birthdays.
- The red rose was the favorite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love.
- The oldest surviving love poem till date is written in a clay tablet from the times of the Sumerians, inventors of writing, around 3500 B.C.
- Verona, the Italian city where Shakespeare's play lovers Romeo and Juliet lived, receives about 1,000 letters every year sent to Juliet on Valentine's Day.
- Amongst the earliest Valentine's Day gifts were candies. The most common were chocolates in heart shaped boxes.
- In America, the pilgrims used to sent confections, such as sugar wafers, marzipan, sweetmeats and sugar plums, to their lovers. They all contained sugar which was a rare commodity.
- Every year around 1 billion Valentine cards are sent across. After Christmas it’s a single largest seasonal card-sending occasion.
- 73% of American men buy flowers on Valentine's Day!
- Over 90% of Valentine's Day flowers are purchased by men.
- 15% of U.S. women send themselves flowers on Valentine's Day.
- England's King Henry VIII declared February 14th a holiday in 1537 for the first time.
- Alexander Graham Bell applied for his patent on the telephone, on the Valentine's Day, 1876.
- On February 14, 1779, the natives of Hawaii murdered Captain James Cook the great English explorer and navigator.
- Casanova, well known as "The World's Greatest Lover," ate chocolate to make him virile.
- Physicians of the 1800's commonly advised their patients to eat chocolate to calm their pining for lost love.
- Richard Cadbury produced the first box of chocolates for Valentine's Day in the late 1800's.
Valentine's Day Superstitions & Traditions
There are many other traditions and superstitions associated with romance activities on Valentine's day including:
- Traditionally, spring begins on St Valentine's Day (February 14th), the day on which birds chose their mates. In parts of Sussex Valentines Day was called 'the Birds' Wedding Day'.
- The first man an unmarried woman saw on 14th February would be her future husband;
- If the names of all a girl's suitors were written on paper and wrapped in clay and the clay put into water, the piece that rose to the surface first would contain the name of her husband-to-be.
- Some people used to believe that if a woman saw a robin flying overhead on Valentine's Day, it meant she would marry a sailor. If she saw a sparrow, she would marry a poor man and be very happy. If she saw a goldfinch, she would marry a millionaire.
- In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who their valentines would be. They would wear these names on their sleeves for one week.
- In Wales wooden love spoons were carved and given as gifts on February 14th. Hearts, keys and keyholes were favourite decorations on the spoons. The decoration meant, "You unlock my heart!"
Here's a look at some fun facts, as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau and the United States Department of Agriculture:
The combined wholesale value of domestically produced cut roses in 2009 for all operations with $100,000 or more in sales.
The combined wholesale value of domestically produced cut flowers in 2009 for all flower-producing operations with $100,000 or more in sales. Among states, California was the leading producer, alone accounting for about three-quarters of this amount ($269 million).
The number of florists nationwide in 2008. These businesses employed 89,741 people.
Total value of shipments in 2008 for firms producing chocolate and cocoa products. Non-chocolate confectionery product manufacturing, meanwhile, was a $7.1 billion industry.
Number of U.S. manufacturing establishments that produced chocolate and cocoa products in 2008, employing 38,369 people. California led the nation in the number of chocolate and cocoa manufacturing establishments, with 146, followed by Pennsylvania, with 115.
Number of U.S. establishments that manufactured non-chocolate confectionary products in 2008. These establishments employed 16,860 people.
Per capita consumption of candy by Americans in 2009.
"Will You Marry Me"
28.2 and 26.1 years
Median age at first marriage in 2010 for men and women, respectively.
The number of marriages that took place in the United States in 2009. That breaks down to nearly 5,800 a day.
The number of marriages performed in Nevada during 2009. So many couples tie the knot in the Silver State that it ranked fifth nationally in marriages, even though its total population that year among states was 35th. (California ranked first in marriages.)
The overall percentage of adults who reported being married.
Percentage of people 15 years and older in 2010 who had been married at some point in their lives - either currently or formerly.
Among women who married for the first time between 1985 and 1989, the percentage who marked their 10th anniversary. This compares with 87 percent of women who married for the first time between 1955 and 1959.
As of 2004, the percentage of currently married women who had been married for at least 50 years. A little more than half of currently married women had been married for at least 15 years.