Friday, 10 February 2012

Sarah's Fun Fact Friday - Love Is In The Air!!!

Whether you are a lover or hater of Valentine's Day and the outpouring of hearts and soppy sentiments, with the impending event fast-approaching, I thought I would share some Fun Facts about the origins of the holiday, and just how much the Americans love their chocolates and roses!

Saint Valentine's Day, or Valentine's Day, is celebrated on February 14 and traditionally honours one or more early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine. It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by giving flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines"). 

The early Medieval story of Saint Valentine was explained in Legenda Aurea. According to that version (and Wikipedia), St Valentine was persecuted as a Christian and interrogated by Roman Emperor Claudius II. Claudius was impressed by Valentine and had a discussion with him, attempting to get him to convert to Roman paganism in order to save his life. Valentine refused and tried to convert Claudius to Christianity instead. Because of this, he was executed. Before his execution, he is reported to have performed a miracle by healing the blind daughter of his jailer. So there you go!

However, Legenda Aurea provides no connections whatsoever to sentimental love - for that we have to look to a more modern portrayal where Valentine was a priest who refused to abide by a law created by Roman Emperor Claudius II, allegedly ordering that young men remain single. The Emperor supposedly did this to grow his army, believing that married men did not make for good soldiers. The priest Valentine, however, secretly performed marriage ceremonies for young men. When Claudius found out about this, he had Valentine arrested and thrown in jail. Either way it seems if you were called Valentine you are likely to end up in jail or dead!

In 1797, a British publisher issued The Young Man's Valentine Writer, which contained scores of suggested sentimental verses for the young lover unable to compose his own. Printers had already begun producing a limited number of cards with verses and sketches, called "mechanical valentines," and a reduction in postal rates in the next century ushered in the less personal but easier practice of mailing Valentines. That, in turn, made it possible for the first time to exchange cards anonymously. At that time Richard Cadbury (son of the guy who started Cadbury's chocolate) also invented the first Valentine's Day candy box.

Chocolates were a better gift than people in the Middle Ages could expect - back then 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. This is where the phrase 'to wear your heart on your sleeve' comes from!

The U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately 190 million valentines are sent each year in the US. Half of those valentines are given to family members other than husband or wife, usually to children. That's the largest seasonal card-sending occasion of the year, next to Christmas!

When you include the valentine-exchange cards made in school activities the figure goes up to 1 billion, and teachers become the people receiving the most valentines. In order of popularity, Valentine's Day cards are given to:
  1. Teachers
  2. Children
  3. Mothers 
  4. Wives
  5. Sweethearts
  6. Pets
About 3% of pet owners will give Valentine's Day gifts to their pets. And yep I used to be in that 3%!

An estimated 15 million e-valentines were sent in 2010 using digital means of creating and sending Valentine's Day greeting messages such as e-cards, love coupons or printable greeting cards (woohoo check out why we love printed cards from Moonpig HERE!). Followed by cards, the second most popular gift is flowers! Valentine's Day and Mother's Day are the biggest holidays for giving flowers. Worldwide, over 50 million roses are given for Valentine's Day each year. 73% of people who buy flowers for Valentine's Day are men!

California produces 60 percent of American roses, but the vast number sold on Valentine's Day in the United States are imported, mostly from South America. Approximately 110 million roses, the majority red, will be sold and delivered within a three-day time period. (Check out Valentines Day, the film, to see this in action)!

Speaking of South America - in some Latin American countries, including Mexico, Costa Rico, Ecuador & Puerto Rico, Valentine's Day is known as "Día del Amor y la Amistad" (Day of Love and Friendship). It is also common to see people perform "acts of appreciation" for their friends. In Guatemala it is known as the "Día del Cariño" (Affection Day).

The oldest surviving love poem to date is written on a clay tablet from the times of the Sumerians, inventors of writing, around 3500 B.C

The most famous verse Roses are red echoes conventions traceable as far back as Edmund Spenser's epic The Faerie Queene (1590):
She bath'd with roses red, and violets blew,
And all the sweetest flowres, that in the forrest grew.

The modern cliché Valentine's Day poem can be found in the collection of English nursery rhymes Gammer Gurton's Garland (1784):
The rose is red, the violet's blue,
The honey's sweet, and so are you.
Thou art my love and I am thine;
I drew thee to my Valentine:
The lot was cast and then I drew,
And Fortune said it shou'd be you

And finally, here are a few Valentine's Day Superstitions to get you ready for love, if you haven't yet found that special someone....
  • If an apple is cut in half, the number of seeds found inside the fruit will indicate the number of children that individual will have.
  • To be awoken by a kiss on Valentine's Day is considered lucky. Pucker up!
  • On Valentine's Day, the first guy's name you read in the paper or hear on the TV or radio will be the name of the man you will marry. Unless you don’t date men, of course! Does it work with women too?
  • If you see a squirrel on Valentine's Day, you will marry a cheapskate who will hoard all your money.
  • If you see a goldfinch on Valentine's Day, you will marry a millionaire.(Good luck with that!)
  • If you see a robin on Valentine's Day, you will marry a crime fighter - maybe they mean Batman! Hahahahaha
  • If you see a flock of doves on Valentine's Day, you will have a happy, peaceful marriage.
  • If you find a glove on the road on Valentine's Day, your future beloved will have the other missing glove. (Or someone might be kind of annoyed you wandered off with their glove!)
Happy Valentine's Day to each and everyone of you....I hope you have someone to give a Valentine to!

I've got a surprise planned for my Valentine so i'm getting excited......until next time,

Sarah xo

P.S. if you aren't great at remembering to text your other half numerous times a day- there is an app called the 'Girlfriend Keeper' that's here to help! You input basic data (eye colour, date you started dating, etc) and it will automatically generate and send texts to your girlfriend. Including 'I can't believe we have been dating for 1 year 53 days!' or 'You have the prettiest green eyes I could ever imagine!' Awesome, right!

I hope someone is keeping your heart warm xoxo
If you enjoyed this Fun Fact post check out others HERE!


  1. Those americans.. ahahahahahahaha. I think I am a different nationality now. Stupid ass hoiday;)

  2. OMG that pic of the dogs is the best!! Happy V-day!


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