Here are 7 facts about Valentine’s Day, that ‘holiday’ in February we know and associate with hearts, roses and romance. Whether it’s a holiday that you embrace or one that you despise, Valentine’s Day’s beginnings are rooted in both Christian and ancient Roman tradition.
Beyond cupids and the Saint that is the namesake of this day, here are 7 facts about Valentine’s Day that you may not know:
- You may know that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Saint Valentine’s death or burial–which probably occurred around A.D. 270. However, did you know that there were at least three early Christian saints who went by Saint Valentine? Most academics agree that the St. Valentine of the holiday was a priest who attracted the disfavor of Roman emperor Claudius II around 270. According to one legend, Claudius II had prohibited marriage for young men, claiming that bachelors made better soldiers. Valentine continued to secretly perform marriage ceremonies but was eventually apprehended by the Romans and put to death. Another legend has it that Valentine, imprisoned by Claudius, fell in love with the daughter of his jailer. Before he was executed, he allegedly sent her a letter signed “from your Valentine.”
- Others claim that the Christian church may have decided to place St. Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia – a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus.
- It wasn’t until the 14th century that this Christian feast day became definitively associated with love. According to a medieval scholar, it was the poet, Chaucer who first linked St. Valentine’s Day with romance. In 1381, Chaucer composed a poem in honor of the engagement between England’s Richard II and Anne of Bohemia. As was the poetic tradition, Chaucer associated the occasion with a feast day. In “The Parliament of Fowls,” the royal engagement, the mating season of birds, and St. Valentine’s Day are linked:
For this was on St. Valentine’s Day, When every fowl cometh there to choose his mate.
- By the 18th century, gift-giving and exchanging handmade cards on Valentine’s Day had become common in England. This tradition spread to the Americas, where hand-made cards made of lace, ribbons, and featuring cupids and hearts were given. It wasn’t until the 1840s that the tradition of Valentine’s cards became widespread in the United States, when a native of Worcester, Mass., Esther A. Howland began selling the first mass-produced valentines in America. Howland, known as the “Mother of the Valentine,” made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap.”
- Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.
- Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.)
- According to a 2015 survey by digital coupons website RetailMeNot.ca, 78 per cent of Canadians feel Valentine’s Day is an overrated occasion.
Whether you’ll be partaking or not, here at Apothekari, we’d like to show you some love for Valentine’s Day. Until February 15th, every online purchase qualifies for FREE SHIPPING (code love2017 at checkout) and a generous 1 oz jar of our Bamboo Lemongrass Foaming Body Polish. No code is needed for this special gift and it’s included with every purchase at our online store. It’s our way of showing our appreciation.
Hope you found these 7 facts about Valentine’s Day interesting – I learned something writing it!
Happy Valentine’s Day from us all at Apothekari!