Love it or hate it, Valentine’s Day comes around every year amid much syrupy sweet fanfare. But exactly how and when did it become what some believe is the Most Romantic Day of the Year? Here are some fun facts you might not have known about Valentine’s Day.
1. It all started with forbidden love… The most popular theory about the origin of Valentine’s Day is that Emperor Claudius II didn’t want Roman men to marry during wartime. Bishop Valentine went against his wishes and performed secret weddings. For this, Valentine was jailed and executed. While in jail he wrote a note to the jailer’s daughter signing it “from your Valentine”.
2. At least we get to choose our own Valentines… 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”.
3. XOXO… 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.
4. Secret admirers were rife… In Victorian times it was considered bad luck to sign a Valentine’s Day card.
5. You had to be careful who you came across… Around the same time, superstition said that if you were single, you would end up marrying the first single person of the opposite sex that you met on Valentine`s Day.
6. How Cupid came into the mix… Cupid is the Roman god of desire, erotic love and affection. In Latin, Cupid means Amor. Amor in English means love.
7. Doctors’ orders… Physicians of the 1800s commonly advised their patients to eat chocolate to calm their pining for lost love.
8. The way to his heart… Lace is often associated with Valentine’s Day. Why? Lace comes from the Latin word laques, meaning to snare or net, as in to catch a person’s heart.
9. Romance is not dead… About 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged each year. This makes it the second largest seasonal card sending time of the year.
10. As for what happens after February 14… More at-home pregnancy tests are sold in March than in any other month.