When did it all start plus the quirkiest things people from around the world do on Valentine’s Day – revealed!
We owe it to Saint Valentine
The holiday of love was named after Saint Valentine. While experts suggest that there were actually two or three significant personalities throughout history with the said name, including one who was a Roman Catholic pope, the most popular and widely accepted notion was that it was actually a martyr priest during the reign of Emperor Claudius II.
According to stories, Claudius was strongly against the idea of his young soldiers finding true love and getting married, out of fear that it would confuse them and that they would eventually rather be at home with their new wives than to fight and die in the battlefield for the Roman Empire.
Against all odds, Saint Valentine disobeyed the emperor’s strict commands and secretly married soldiers and their fiancés. Saint Valentine was imprisoned and condemned to death. In his prison cell, young lovers allegedly sent him flowers and letters as a way of gratitude.
The unfortunate sentence was carried on February 14, 270.
A Roman holiday
There are two theories as to how Valentine’s Day actually started. The conservative take is the common story of the martyrdom of Saint Valentine.
But a bolder belief on Valentine’s Day origin is that it was inspired by the ancient festival celebrated in the city of Rome every February 15 called Lupercalia, linked to the Luperci, an association of priests.
Thought to be a pagan tradition to ward off evil spirits and to release health and fertility, Lupercalia rituals involve sacrificing dogs and goats, two young naked men laughing, cutting strips of skins from the sacrificial animals, and striking with it any young maiden they happen to pass by as a symbolic blessing of fertility.
Whichever of these stories are true, one thing is for sure, Valentine’s Day was started by the Romans.
Roses are the official love flowers
Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, adores red roses, which symbolize passion and romance. No wonder roses are unbeatably the bestselling flowers every Valentine’s Day.
The hidden meanings in the number of roses
A single red rose stand for love at first sight or “You’re still the one.” Two roses could mean the feeling is mutual. Three roses, as you may know, is “I love you.” Six roses if you want to say “I want to be yours,” or “Please be mine.” A dozen roses are for proposals or confessing love for the first time. But the grandest of all, exactly 101 roses mean “I’m crazy for you,” or “My love knows no bounds.”
Better start counting your roses.
Learn more about Fascinating Facts About Your Favorite Roses.
Flowers are the most popular Valentine’s Day gift
In America, fresh flower arrangements are the gold standard of a pretty Valentine’s Day present. There are reportedly more than 220 million roses sent each year during this love holiday and in the United States alone. Chocolates and jewelry are runners-up.
Plus fact: 15 percent of women send themselves flowers. Why not, modern woman? Celebrate self-love on Valentine’s Day by getting yourself a gorgeous flower arrangement from us!
Americans love sending Valentine’s Day cards
A research by Hallmark reveals that 141 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent and received every year during the love month in the United States alone. It ranks second to the highest as a hit greeting cards giving season, right after Christmas.
Who is Cupid?
Cupid is ubiquitous come February. This charming, diaper-wearing, bow-carrying, chubby-cheeked cherub who gives hope that we all have a shot at true love.
But who is he really anyway? To some Cupid is the Angel of Love sent by God, on a mission to find each of us a soul mate or a match made in heaven as they say. In mythologies, Cupid is the little deity of love and the offspring of Venus, the goddess of love and beauty.
Bay leaves for husbands
One weird and super old tradition in England for Valentine’s Day happens on the eve of the celebration. Women would put five pieces of fresh bay leaves, sometimes misted with rose water, on the center and at each end and corners of their pillows. Legends say doing so will bring maidens the sweetest dreams about their future husbands.
Did you know that there are 220,000 in America and a whopping 6 million couples around the world get engaged each year during Valentine’s Day? February is the second peak proposal season favored by men next to Christmas.
A survey by James Allen, an online diamond and bridal jewelry retailer, revealed that 43 percent of millennials say Valentine's Day is their top day to propose or be proposed to.
Love for friends
In Finland, Valentine’s Day is not a day for love but friendship.
Dubbed Ystävänpäivä, which is Saint Valentine’s Finnish name, they celebrate February 14 as Friendship Day or Day of the Friends.
Finns exchange greeting cards, flowers, teddy bears, and chocolates on this day, too. But instead of with their lovers alone, they do it with friends, colleagues, family members, neighbors – basically everyone they care about.