By: Braden Gerow and Paul Seefeld, The Pawprint
When February 14th comes, and every year lovers offer each other chocolates, flowers, and even hand-written letters. This popular holiday seems to be a great day for dinner dates and such, however, read on to find out some fascinating facts about St Valentine’s that will probably surprise you.
- St Valentine wasn’t just one person
It is common knowledge that the origin of the title of Valentine’s day comes from the patron saint, St. Valentine, but it is less known that there are multiple “Valentine’s” it could have originated from. One of the men named Valentine who could have inspired the holiday is a third century priest in Rome, because of the king banning marriage at the time and his defiance in continuing to illegally marry young couples. He did so until he was caught and handed the death sentence. However, there are other versions of the story that still provide explanation for the name of the holiday.
- In the 1300s, it officially became a holiday associated with love.
Roman Pope Gelasius is who officially declared the date of St. Valentine’s Day, February 14th, however it was not until much later that it became a holiday associated with love. It was in the middle ages that it became associated with love and romance, due to the common belief that the mating season for birds began on February 14th.
- The first valentine was sent in the 15th century.
The oldest record of a Valentine being sent, was a poem written by a French medieval duke named Charles, to his wife in 1415. Charles expressed his sweet words to his lover whilst he was being imprisoned in the tower of London at only 21 years of age.
- Today, Americans spend a lot on love.
Valentines tends to be an expensive holiday for Americans, and the number is only going up. Americans spent over $20 billion on Valentine’s day gifts in 2019, with men spending an average of approximately $300, and women spending approximately $100 on gifts. This includes almost $2.5 billion spent on candy alone!
- Nearly 6 million couples get engaged on Valentine’s Day.
Is there really a better day than the one dedicated to love ? It may be a little clichéd, but Valentine’s day is one of the most popular days to “pop the question”. February 14th has around 6 million couples getting engaged every year, and the numbers keep increasing.
- “XOXO” didn’t always mean hugs and kisses.
The origin of signing your letters and messages with XO stems all the way back to the middle ages, although it did not always have the same meaning as now. Back then, the X was actually supposed to symbolize the Christian cross, with the O being a kiss symbolizing an oath. As the popularity of the signature increased, the meaning changed to be more along the lines of sealing the message or letter with a kiss.
- Lovebirds are actual birds.
The term ‘lovebirds’ has become very popular in the English language, referring to two lovers. However, it is truly referring to the Agapornis bird. This kind of parrot can be found in the African continent, and always travels with a partner. They have been nicknamed ‘lovebirds’, and thus, the reason why so many couples are referred to as lovebirds.