Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Fun Facts about Valentine's Day


Valentine's Day





Saint Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14th each year, in many countries around the world.  What started as a liturgical celebration of one or more early Christian saints named Valentinus, later became a romantic holiday.

In the Middle Ages, the tradition of courtly love flourished. The day became associated with romantic love within the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer. By the 15th century, Valentine’s Day evolved into an occasion where lovers expressed their love for each other by offering flowers, confections, and greeting cards.

King Henry VII declared February 14th the holiday of St. Valentine’s Day in 1537.

The modern Valentine’s Day symbols are the heart-shaped outline, doves, greeting cards, and the figure of Cupid.

The Legend

Valentine was a priest who refused an unattested law by Roman Emperor Claudius II that ordered young men to remain single. The Emperor did this to grow his army, believing married men did not make good soldiers. The priest secretly performed marriage ceremonies for young men. When Claudius found out, Valentine was arrested and thrown in jail. On the evening before Valentine was to be executed, he wrote the first ‘valentine’ card and addressed it to the daughter of his jailer. He signed the letter, “From your Valentine.”

Cards


The first recorded association of Valentine’s Day with romantic love is in the poem, Parlement of Foules (1382) by Geoffrey Chaucer. The poem was written to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia.

In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who would be their valentine. The earliest surviving valentines in English appear to be in the Paston Letters, written in 1477 by Margery Brewes to her future husband John Paston.

In 1797 a British publisher issued The Young Man’s Valentine Writer which contained suggested sentimental verses for the young lover unable to compose his own. Printers produced a number of cards with verses and sketches, called ‘mechanical valentines.’ A reduction in postal rates in the next century ushered in the practice of mailing valentines. Cards could be exchanged anonymously and so racy verse appeared in the otherwise prudish Victorian era.

Fancy valentines were made with real lace and ribbons. Paper lace was introduced in the mid-19th century. In the US, the first mass-produced valentines were sold shortly after 1847. The US Greeting Card Association estimates that approx 190 million valentines are sent each year.

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

Chocolate


Casanova ate chocolate to make himself more virile.

Physicians in the 1800s 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 1800s.

More than 35 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate will be sold.

Roses




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

Over 189 million stems of roses are sold in the US on Valentine’s Day.

California produces 60 percent of American roses, but the greater number sold on Valentine’s Day are imported from So America.

Regional Customs.



In Norfolk, a character called Jack Valentine knocks on the rear door of houses, leaving sweets and presents for children. 

In Wales, many people celebrate Dydd Santes Dwynwen on January 25th. The day commemorates the patron saint of Welsh lovers. 

In Finland, the day translates into ‘Friends day’ and is about remembering all your friends. 

In Lituania and Latvia, it is common for people to put stickers on faces and clothing of a friend or relative.

According to Jewish tradition, the 15th day of the month of Av—Tu B’Av (usually late August) is the festival of love. In ancient times girls would wear white dresses and dance in the vineyards where the boys would be waiting for them.

In South Korea, women give chocolate to men and men give non-chocolate candy to women on March 14th. Those who did not receive anything on either day go to a restaurant to eat black noodles and mourn their single life.

Did you know?



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.

Men spend an average of $130 on candy, cards, jewelry, flowers and dates.


What are your thoughts on Valentine's Day? Do you exchange gifts with your loved ones?


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