Valentine's Day started with the Romans

There are two theories about the origin of Valentine's Day. According to History.com, one is that the day derives from Lupercalia, a raucous Roman festival on February 15th where men stripped naked and spanked young maidens in the hopes of upping their fertility.

The second theory is that while the Roman Emperor Claudius II was trying to bolster his army, he forbade young men to marry, because apparently single men make better soldiers. In the spirit of love, St. Valentine defied the ban and performed secret marriages, History.com reports. For his disobedience, Valentine was executed on February 14th

Passing out Valentines is a 600-year-old tradition

Each year, kids in classrooms across America hand out Valentine's Day cards to their classmates. According to History.com, the oldest record of a valentine was a poem Charles Duke of Orleans wrote to his wife when he was imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415. 

Esther Howland is the first manufacturer of Valentines

She became known as the "Mother of the American Valentine" for the artistry and sentiment of her designs, Time reports. Before Howland commercialized them, American valentines were less romantic and more comic. Her inspiration came from the thoughtful and sweet greeting cards that were circulating in England and she decided to sell similar designs in the U.S. They took off: During the 1850s she earned $100,000 annually, which is about $3 million today, according to Time.

Today, millions of greeting cards are purchased every year

We're talking 144 million greeting cards being exchanged industry-wide every year for Valentine's Day in the U.S. alone, according to Hallmark

Wearing your heart on your sleeve is more than just a phrase

In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names to see who their Valentine would be, the LA Times reports. According to Smithsonian, they would wear the name pinned to their sleeve for one week so that everyone would know their supposed true feelings. 

People consider pink and red the colors of love

According to the National Confectioners Association, around 65% of Americans believe that the packaging of Valentine's Day candies and chocolates should be red and pink.

Candy hearts were originally medical lozenges

In 1847, Boston pharmacist Oliver Chase invented a machine that simplified the lozenge production process, resulting in the first candy-making machine, according to The Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America. After identifying an opportunity to revolutionize the candy business, Chase shifted his focus to candy production with Necco wafers

The candies got their iconic shape much later

It wasn't until 15 years after the creation of Necco wafers that Daniel Chase's brother, Oliver Chase, developed a way to press words onto the candy lozenges with a felt roller pad and vegetable food coloring. According to The Huffington Post, the conversation candies officially became heart-shaped in 1902, and today Necco says about 100,000 of them are sold each year. 

The heart shape wasn't always a romantic symbol

According to Time, the heart was once widely believed to be humans' center of memory, where feelings of love were recorded. However, we have French and Italian artists from the 14th century to thank for the symbol that we know and love today, as they were the first ones to start using this motif in their work. 

Cupid's bow and arrow aren't just for show

In Roman mythology, Cupid is the son of Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, Medium reports. According to CNN, he's often depicted with a bow and arrows to pierce hearts and cast a spell of love.

Roses are the flowers of love

Speaking of cupid and his roses, can you guess the favorite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess? The red rose, of course. The bud stands for strong romantic feelings, so it's no surprise they make up the most popular Valentine's Day bouquets

Valentine's Day is a popular holiday to get engaged

This seems fitting: A 2017 study by diamond retailer James Allen found that 43% of millennials chose Valentine's Day as their top choice of day to propose or be proposed to.  

Americans spend a lot on love

According to a survey by the National Retail Federation, Americans spent $18.2 billion for Valentine's Day in 2017 and were expected to spend $19.6 billion in 2018.

Men and women prefer the same of candy

Both men and women prefer to receive chocolate over flowers, according to the National Confectioners Association. The survey also found that chocolate sales represent 75% or more of Valentine's Day candy purchases.

The chocolate box has been around for more than 140 years

In addition to creating arguably the richest, creamiest, and sweetest chocolate on the market, Richard Cadbury also introduced the first box of Valentine's Day chocolates in 1868, History.com reports.

And there's a standout favorite in every box

According to the National Confectioners Association, caramels are the most popular flavor in chocolate boxes, followed by chocolate-covered nuts, chocolate-filled, cream-filled, and coconut.
                    

Experiential gifts are on the rise

In 2017, 40% of consumers told the National Retail Federation they wanted an "experience gift"— a.k.a. tickets to a concert or other event, an outdoor activity, or an evening out — although only 24% planned to give one. This gift option is particularly popular with millennials: 45% of people ages 18-24 and 40 percent of people ages 25-34 said they planned to give experiences for Valentine's Day. 

More Americans skip Valentine's Day than you realize

Whether it's because they're single or think the holiday is beyond cheesy, about 3 in 10 adults reported in a survey by the National Retail Federation that they're not celebrating the day of love, though they may treat themselves to a small gift or a night out with friends and family. Oh well, more chocolate and roses for us!

     MORE INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT VALENTINE’S DAY  


In the 1300s, it officially became a holiday associated with love and romance

The holiday was Christianized — no more animal sacrifices! — when the Roman Pope Gelasius officially declared the date of February 14 "St. Valentine's Day." The day then became associated with love because many believed that birds started their mating season on February 14.

Saint Valentine wasn't just one person

In fact, he might have been two or three. But the most common "founder" of Valentine's Day was the Saint Valentine who defied Emperor Claudius II. At the time, Claudius had banned marriage because he thought it distracted young soldiers. Valentine felt a bit differently — he illegally married couples until he was caught. After he was sentenced to his death, young couples would visit his cell and give him flowers and cards. And the day he actually died? February 14. Allegedly.

But there have been multiple St. Valentines throughout history, including a bishop and one Pope (he only served for 40 days in 827 A.D.). 

And they also spend nearly $650 million on gifts for their pets

Hey, furry friends need love, too! In fact, more than 5 million American households gave Valentine's Day presents to their pet dogs last year, and more than 2 million picked up presents for their cats. But even though more Americans buy gifts for their dogs, people actually spend more on their pet kitties — an average of about $96 per household, compared to $81 for dogs!

The Valentine's Day gift that people spend the most on is jewelry

Candy and flowers might be the most common gifts for Valentine's Day, but according to the National Retail Federation, the category that we spend the most on for February 14 is jewelry, at a whopping $4.7 billion! The second most-paid-for gift is an evening out with $3.7 billion, followed by flowers, clothing, and then candy.

The first heart-shaped box of chocolates was introduced in 1861

It was created by Richard Cadbury, son of Cadbury founder John Cadbury, who started packaging chocolates in fancy boxes to increase sales. He introduced the first heart-shaped box of chocolates for V-Day in 1861, and today, more than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolates are sold each year. That's 58 million pounds of chocolate!

It wasn't until 1866 that we first got sweet printed messages on conversation hearts

It was Oliver's brother, Daniel Chase, who started printing sentimental messages on the Necco sweethearts, though these candies were bigger than the versions we have today — and featured much longer printed sayings and phrases. Some of the first messages? "Married in white you have chosen right" and "How long shall I have to wait? Please be considerate." 

More than 8 billion conversation hearts are manufactured each year

And Necco has to start making them just days after February 14 to have enough in time for the next Valentine's Day. That's almost 100,000 pounds per day! Each box has approximately 45 sayings — including "True Love," "Hug Me," and "You Rock" — but you can personalize your own, too. But don't worry if you still have last year's box — they have a shelf life of five years.

Nearly 6 million couples get engaged on Valentine's Day

I mean, what better day is there for a marriage proposal than a day literally dedicated to love and romance? Valentine's Day is one of the popular days to pop the question, with as many as 6 million couples getting engaged on February 14. And according to the results of this survey, Valentine's Day was voted the best day of the year to propose than any other day — and of those people who voted, 40% were men!

It's celebrated differently around the world

Many Latin American countries know the holiday as el día de los enamorados (day of lovers) or día del amor y la amistad (day of love and friendship). Though couples exchange flowers and chocolate on this day, the holiday's focus is also directed at showing gratitude to friends!

In Japan, it's customary for just the women to give confections to the men in their lives, with the quality of the chocolate indicating their true feelings, according to Fortune. On March 14, exactly a month later, the men repay the favor by celebrating the increasingly popular "White Day.
In Victorian times, it was considered bad luck to sign a Valentine’s Day card.

About 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year. This makes it the second largest seasonal card sending time of the year.

If you are single, don’t despair.  You can celebrate Singles Awareness Day (SAD) instead.

In Victorian times, it was considered bad luck to sign a Valentine’s Day card.

About 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year. This makes it the second largest seasonal card sending time of the year.

Meant as an alternative to Valentine’s Day, the holiday is for single people to celebrate or to commiserate in their single status.

You could also pop over to Finland where Valentine’s Day is called Ystävänpäivä, which translates into “Friend’s day.” It's more about remembering your buddies than your loved ones.

Many believe the X symbol became synonymous with the kiss in medieval times. People who couldn't write their names signed in front of a witness with an X. The X was then kissed to show their sincerity.

Girls of medieval times ate bizarre foods on this day to make them dream of their future spouse.

In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who would be their Valentine. They would wear this name pinned onto their sleeves for one week for everyone to see. This was the origin of the expression "to wear your heart on your sleeve."

In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who would be their Valentine. They would wear this name pinned onto their sleeves for one week for everyone to see. This was the origin of the expression "to wear your heart on your sleeve."

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

73% of people who buy flowers on this day are men, while only 27 percent are women.

15% of U.S. women send themselves flowers on Valentine's Day.

Over 50 percent of all Valentine's Day cards are purchased in the six days prior to the holiday, making Valentine's Day a procrastinator's delight.

The red rose was the favorite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love. 220,000 is the average number of wedding proposals on Valentine's Day each year.

Red roses are considered the flower of love because the color red stands for strong romantic feelings.

Women purchase approximately 85% of all gifts on this holiday.

Teachers will receive the most Valentine's Day cards, followed by children, mothers, wives, sweethearts, and pets.

Every Valentine's Day, the Italian city of Verona, where Shakespeare's lovers Romeo and Juliet lived, receives about 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet.

 “The best and most beautiful things in this world cannot be seen or even heard, but must be felt with the heart.” Helen Keller

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY