So you think you know Valentine’s Day, do you? Well here are 22 fun facts you may not know…
By the Numbers
– 150 million valentine cards are sent in the US alone every year. Children send and receive well over half of them.
– At least 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate will be given this year.
– The average consumer will spend about $130 this year on Valentines Day.
– 64% of flowers are purchased by men, but 85% of cards are bought by women.
– Teachers receive more Valentines cards than anyone else.
– Over $18 billion will be spent collectively for the holiday. Of that, $1.6 billion is spent on sweets, $1.9 on flowers, and $4.4 billion on jewelry.
– All the roses given on Valentines Day, if laid end to end, would encircle the Earth three times.
– One survey predicts that 6 million marriage proposals will happen on Valentines Day.
– In response to Valentine’s Day, February 14th has been christened as other things by special interest groups, including Quirkyalone Day and SAD, Single Awareness Day. No word on if Hallmark is starting a SAD line of cards as of yet.
Historical Facts and Fictions
– St. Valentine’s Day became an official holiday on February 14th, 1537, when it was proclaimed by King Henry VIII.
– Valentine’s Day boxes of chocolates were introduced to the market in 1868 by Richard Cadbury, a man still intimately associated with the sweets.
– The St. Valentines Day Massacre happened on February 14 in 1929. Seven prominent Chicago gangsters all met a grisly demise, executed gangland style in a garage. Al Capone was reputedly the brains behind the murders, but neither he nor anyone else was ever tried for the crime.
– Why roses? The ancient goddesses of love, Venus (Roman) and Aphrodite (Greek) were identified with roses, as was the goddess Isis.
– Where do valentines come from? Well, the legend goes that St. Valentine, while waiting for his execution, fell in love with the jailer’s daughter. Just before he was put to death on February 14th, he wrote her a final love note, and signed it, “From Your Valentine.” Is it true? Historians tell us that it is not – but it’s still a great story.
– The oldest Valentine known to historians was penned in 1415, written by Charles, the Duke of Orleans, to his wife.
– Cupid, the God of Love, is best known for his symbols, the arrow and the torch. He carries these because “love wounds and inflames the heart.” He actually carries two kinds of arrows: one with a golden tip which produces desire, and one with an arrowhead of lead, which causes the target to flee.
Valentines Day Around the World
– In Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Colombia, Mexico, and many other Latin American countries the day is called Dia del Amor y la Amistad (the Day of Love and Friendship). In Brazil, “Lovers Day” is celebrated on June 12.
– In China, what we think of as Valentines Day is called Lovers Festival, and is celebrated on the seventh day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar. Despite the difference in dates, chocolate and flowers are still the popular gifts to give.
– In Israel, the traditional Tu B’av has become that country’s version of Valentines Day, and is celebrated on the 15th day of Av (usually in August).
– In Japan, it is women who give chocolates to the objects of their affections on February 14th. “White Day” is March 14, the day the men return the favor.
– Other countries that celebrate Valentines Day include Tiawan, Spain, South Korea, the Philippines, Greece, France, and India (although it has been very controversial with some Indian traditionalists). In many of these countries, Valentine’s Day has become popular due to concerted efforts from the card, flower, and chocolate industries. They are still working on Scandinavia, where it hasn’t been made an official holiday… yet.
– Sweden is the only country that has no version or variation of Valentines Day that it celebrates.