We all know that Valentine’s Day is on 14th February, but where did it all start? We thought we’d have a look behind the scenes at some interesting facts. Here’s our top 10 list of things we never knew about this day of romance:-
1. Valentine’s has it’s origins in the 5th century Roman holiday of Lupercalia, a fertility ceremony, where if you believe what you’re told, fertility was increased by nakedness and whipping. We’ll leave that one there!
2. One popular theory about Valentine’s Day origin is that Emperor Claudius II refused to allow Roman men to marry during wartime. However, kind hearted Bishop Valentine went against his wishes and performed secret weddings. Valentine was imprisioned and fell in love with his jailor’s daughter. The day of his execution he wrote a note to her, signing it “from your Valentine”.
3. In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who would be their Valentine. They would wear this name pinned onto their sleeves for one week for everyone to see. This was the origin of the expression “to wear your heart on your sleeve.”
4. Doctors in the 1800s often advised their patients to eat chocolate to calm their pining for lost love. Not much has changed over the years, although sadly Cadburys doesn’t come on prescription.
5. Those prudish Victorians weren’t all they seemed! The advent of the printed card (known as mechanical valentines at the time) and the tradition for Valentines to be anonymous led to some racy prose! We’ll spare your blushes and not publish any here.
6. In 1835, 60,000 Valentine cards were sent by post in Britain, today 1 billion are sent worldwide. Now, if you decide to ask your date out by text this Valentine’s Day, you’re not alone. Nearly 50% of men ask women out by text. Sadly, only 15% of men now ask their dates out face-to-face.
7. It wasn’t until the 20th century that cards were supplemented by flowers and chocolates, even jewellery, a retailers delight! In the UK around £1.3bn is spent on cards, flowers, chocolates and other gifts. 75% of men remember to buy their other halves flowers on the day, although less than 30% of women buy their Valentine a gift. So, ladies, what about it this year?
8. Every year around 10% of all marriage proposals happen on the 14th – despite 88% of women believing that Valentine’s Day isn’t the best time to propose. It’s second only to Christmas Eve as the busiest day of the year for popping the question.
9. Teachers get more Valentines cards than anyone. How cool is that!
10. Now gents, this one makes us sad: but almost 70% of unmarried men spend the 14th alone. We think you need a movie night with your mates. Rom com perhaps!
However you’re spending Valentines, we wish you a happy one and if you give/receive a proposal we’d love to hear about it. Have fun.