Millions of people celebrate Valentine’s Day on 14 February every year – but just how much do you actually know about the celebration and how it got started?
These seven interesting facts should shed some light on a few things you probably didn’t know about the day of love or the trends associated with Valentine's day gifting.
1. Valentine's Day started as a form of rebellion
The most popular theory about Valentine’s Day origin is that Emperor Claudius II didn’t want Roman men to marry during wartime. Saint Valentine went against his wishes and performed secret weddings, which means this day was originally founded on an act of rebellion! Cool huh?
2. Signing your messages with a kiss is nothing new
Typing a long line of kisses at the end of a message is something many of us do but while you may associate it most with the modern “text” era, this little symbol actually has a much longer history.
Some think the cute ‘x’ symbol became synonymous with the kiss in medieval times when very few individuals could write and would end each of their letters with an ‘x’ embossed in wax or ink to show their sincerity. This evolved to represent the kiss and the rest is history (we’re not sure who decided to add ‘o’ symbols to represent hugs but we’re pretty sure it happened a fair bit later!)
3. Not all Valentine's are chosen on purpose
Back in the middle ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who would be their valentine. The single women’s names would be added to an urn and single men of the town would take a name out and pin it to their sleeves for one whole week. This would allow everyone in the town to see who their valentine was and could be where the term “wearing your heart on your sleeve” originates.
4. Juliet still gets love letters sent to her on Valentine's day
William Shakespeare’s most famous romance Romeo and Juliet has captured hearts for decades – so much so that Juliet still receives love letters on Valentine’s Day! Every year, the city of Verona in Italy (where the play was set) receives around 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet. Not bad for someone who’s been dead for hundreds of years.
5. You don't have to be lovers to celebrate Valentine's day
While Valentine’s Day is most commonly associated with lovers and couples, that doesn’t mean singletons can’t celebrate the occasion too! In fact, Finland has gone as far as to transform the occasion into “Friend’s Day” instead!
6. Henry VIII decided when Valentine's day ought to be celebrated
Marrying a total of six women throughout his lifetime, there’s no denying Henry VIII was a BIG fan of women and probably a rather big romance – but did you know he is responsible for when we actually celebrate Valentine’s Day? Back in 1537, King Henry VIII declared by Royal Charter that Valentine’s Day would be a public holiday chose 14 February as the official day of celebration.
7. Teachers receive the most number of Valentine's day gifts
Valentine’s cards are big news for those of school age but surprisingly it is teachers, not pupils, who stand to benefit the most. Teachers generally receive the largest number of Valentine’s Day gift sets with children, mothers, wives, and pets (yes, pets) filling the rest of the top five recipient’s list.
Happy Valentines day to you!