10 Cool Tidbits About Valentine’s Day
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and if you’re like most people, you might be wondering about the history behind this love-filled holiday. Well, you’ve come to the right place! In this article, we’ll dive into some interesting facts about Valentine’s Day that you might not know. So, get ready to impress your friends and family with your newfound knowledge. Let’s get started!
The ‘Love’ Aspect is Not Actually Rooted in Religion
You might think that Valentine’s Day is all about religion, but it’s not. Reader’s Digest confirms that the holiday was named after a Christian saint, Saint Valentine, but that’s about as religious as it gets. Nothing ties the Day specifically to religion – it’s just a day set aside for love and lovers. And while some sources suggest that the Day has roots in courtship during the Middle Ages, exchanging cards and gifts took off in 18th-century Britain. So, if you’re looking for a spiritual connection on Valentine’s Day, you might have to look elsewhere!
It Wasn’t Associated With Love Until The 1300s
St. Valentine’s Day” got its name from Pope Gelasius in the 5th century, but it took a while for a holiday to be linked with love. According to Good Housekeeping, it wasn’t until the Middle Ages that the Day became associated with love because people in France and England believed that birds began their mating season on February 14. And that’s why so many lovebirds celebrate the Day, huh?
It Started… With a Beheading?
We might imagine St. Valentine as the patron saint of love, but according to TheConversation.com, that’s not exactly accurate. It turns out there were multiple people named St. Valentine who died on February 14 during a time of Christian persecution. One of them was a Roman priest named Valentinus, who was executed by Emperor Gothicus (Emperor Claudius II) for preaching about converting pagans to Christianity. It’s thought that his martyrdom on February 14 may have influenced the connection of the holiday with the pagan festival of love called Lupercalia (celebrated from February 13 to 15), which later became Valentine’s Day. Did you get all that?
The First Valentine Originated In Prison
The first recorded valentine’s letter was written from a prison cell, according to History.com. In the 15th century, Charles, Duke of Orleans, wrote a love letter to his second wife while he was being held captive after the Battle of Agincourt. Unfortunately, there’s no way to know if she ever received it since he was imprisoned for over 20 years with limited access to mail. But some might argue that the first valentine was actually written by St. Valentine of Terni, who was jailed for secretly marrying couples against Emperor Claudius II’s ban in the third century. Before his execution, he wrote a touching letter to his wife signed “from your Valentine.” How poignant!
How a Flying Baby Became Associated With Valentine’s
When searching for Valentine’s cards, you may come across images of Cupid, a chubby, winged baby with a golden bow and arrows. According to CBC.ca, Cupid is the son of Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty, and he’s considered the “god of affection.” From the 14th to 17th centuries, Cupid was often portrayed as a baby angel by painters, and this image became popular in cards in the late 1800s. Fun fact: Cupid also had a lead arrow with a blunt tip that could make people fall out of love. In mythology, he angrily shot an arrow through the heart of the god Apollo, causing him to fall in love with the nymph Daphne. But then, Cupid shot a lead arrow through her heart, repulsing her by Apollo. Talk about a power play!
Cards Were Once Used To Discourage Suitors
Back in the Victorian era, there was a tradition of sending a “vinegar valentine” as a rejection to those you didn’t want to show love or affection to, similar to today’s text message rejections. According to History.com, these “penny dreadfuls” were the opposite of regular Valentine’s cards and focused on the recipient’s negative traits instead. Talk about harsh! The source also mentions that later on, these cards were directed toward women involved in the suffrage movement.
It Wasn’t Always About a Box of Chocolates
The history of chocolate and Valentine’s Day may surprise you. According to SmithsonianMag, it wasn’t until the efforts of Richard Cadbury that chocolate became associated with the holiday. As technology advanced during Queen Victoria’s reign, Cadbury’s family business needed to find a use for the pure cocoa butter produced during the chocolate-making process. So they decided to package the chocolates in heart-shaped boxes, making them convenient places to store love letters. Hershey later added to the trend with its iconic “kisses” candy.
Love is The Best… Medicine?
The beloved “conversation hearts,” those small heart-shaped candies with affectionate messages, have an interesting origin. According to Good Housekeeping, they started as medical lozenges created by a Boston pharmacist, Oliver Chase. He invented the machine that produced these lozenges, used to treat sore throats and other illnesses more efficiently. However, Chase soon shifted his focus from medical lozenges to candy-making, which gave birth to the candy version of the lozenges. He went on to establish the New England Confectionery Company, also known as Necco, which first produced Necco wafers in 1847, a predecessor to the modern conversation hearts.
The Day is Celebrated (And Not Celebrated) Around The World
Valentine’s Day is celebrated differently around the world. According to Reader’s Digest, some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, have banned the Day’s celebration due to its association with a Christian saint. In Malaysia, 100 Muslim couples were even arrested for celebrating the occasion. However, in Paris, France, couples can get married during the Lovers’ Festival in a rose-covered garden dressed in 19th-century attire. Thailand has the “Village of Love,” where couples can tie the knot in a romantic setting, and in Verona, Italy, the birthplace of Shakespeare, thousands of people send letters to Juliet. Australia celebrates National Condom Day on February 14; in Japan, women give men candy on Valentine’s Day, with men reciprocating the gesture on “Reply Day” or “White Day” on March 14.