11 Fun Facts About Valentine’s Day
Here are 11 interesting facts about Valentine’s Day:
- Valentine’s Day started with the Romans – Theories say, while the Roman emperor Claudius II was trying to bolster his army, he forbade young men to marry because he believed single men made better soldiers – less distractions. In the spirit of love, St. Valentine defied the ban and performed secret marriages. For his disobedience, Bishop Valentine was jailed and then executed on February 14th.
- Roses are the flowers of love – The red rose was the favorite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love. The flowers’ beautiful red color represents strong romantic feelings, so it’s no surprise they are the most popular Valentine’s Day flowers. Over 189 million stems of roses, mostly red, are sold in the U.S. for Valentine’s Day.
- “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. They would wear the name pinned to their sleeve for one week so that everyone would know the identity of their Valentine.
- Valentine’s Day became an official holiday in 1537 – England’s King Henry VII declared February 14th the official St. Valentine’s Day holiday.
- Romeo and Juliet – 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.
- Experiential gifts are on the rise – According to stats from the National Retail Federation, 40% of consumers prefer an “experience gift” – such as tickets to a concert, an amusement park or an outdoor activity. This gift genre is particularly popular with millennials.
- Americans have a serious sweet tooth – According to the National Retail Federation Association, $1.7 billion is spent on candy every year to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
- The chocolate box has been around for more than 140 years – The first Valentine’s Day box of chocolates was introduced by Richard Cadbury (son of John Cadbury, the founder of Cadbury’s Cocoa and Chocolate Company), in 1868. More than 35 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate are sold for Valentine’s Day.
- Greetings of love – Approximately 145 million valentines are sold in the U.S. each year, according to estimates by the U.S. Greeting Card Association. That’s second only to Christmas, with 1.6 billion units sold annually.
- XOXO (Hugs and Kisses) – 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.
- Marriage proposals – There are approximately 220,000 marriage proposals in the U.S. on Valentine’s Day each year.