Friday, February 02, 2018

What Do You Know About Valentine's Day - 14 Fun Facts

By Tiffany Craft

Valentine's Day is quickly approaching. The 14th of February conjures images of candle light dining, homemade greeting cards and heart-shaped candy boxes. This festive day celebrates all of the love in your life. But where did it come from? Here's some fun facts about this whimsical day.

1. Historians believe Valentine's Day actually began in ancient Rome as a wine-fueled fertility festival called Lupercalia, in which Roman men and women paired off.

2. In the 1300's this special day was Christianized and the 14th officially became a holiday associated with love and romance. Many believed that birds started their mating season on February 14th, which is why doves are often associated with love.

3. Some say that there was more than one St. Valentine. However, the most popular theory is that Bishop Valentine is the true conspirator for love. Apparently, Emperor Claudius II didn't want Roman men to marry during his gamble for mass expansion of territories. Bishop Valentine went against his wishes and performed secret weddings. Sadly, he was jailed and executed for going against the emperor's wishes. However, before his passing, he wrote a note to the jailer's daughter and signed it "from your Valentine".

4. Many believe the X symbol became synonymous with the kiss in medieval times. Individuals who couldn't write their names often signed in front of a witness with an X. The X was then kissed to demonstrate sincere devotion.

5. In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who would be their Valentine. Individuals would wear this name pinned onto their sleeves for one week so that others would see. Perhaps the expression "I'm wearing my heart on my sleeve" comes from this.

6. The first valentines were sent in the 15th century. It wasn't until Victorian times that people started exchanging cards and letters - and it was considered bad luck to sign a card. Valentine's Day greeting cards weren't mass produced until the 1840's.

7. Physicians of the 1800's often advised their patients to eat chocolate to calm their pining for lost love.

8. Thanks to Richard Cadbury, the first box of chocolates for Valentine's Day was created in the late 1800's.

9. Approximately one billion Valentine's Day cards are exchanged each year. Teachers receive the most Valentine's Day cards.

10. The most popular gift on Valentine's Day is flowers. The most popular flower to give guessed it, roses.

11. The red rose was the symbolic favorite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love.

12. Lace is often used in Valentine's Day decorations. This custom comes from the Latin lacquer, which means to snare or to net. Thus, the ritual to catch an individual's heart.

13. A love knot is a symbol of undying love. It's twisting loops have no beginning and no end. In the past, they were made of ribbon or drawn on paper to prove one's eternal love.
14. Perhaps one of the most magical gifts of love is the Taj Mahal in India. It was built by Mughal Emperor Shahjahan as a memorial to his wife.

Reprinted with permission from monthly newsletter

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