Valentine’s Day is about a week away, so now is the perfect time to figure out how you’d like to celebrate. You don’t need to plan a romantic date to enjoy February 14th – you don’t even need to be in a relationship! If you don’t already have plans, consider organizing a party, inviting a friend over to watch movies, or simply baking some festive treats. Whatever you plan to do, you can spice up the conversation with some fun facts about Valentine’s Day.
Fun Facts About Valentine’s Day
Pope Gelasius I declared February 14th Valentine’s Day in A.D. 496.
The origin of Valentine’s Day is hard to pin down, but it likely contains bits of Christian and Roman tradition. There are actually a few different saints named Valentine (or Valentinus), but one St. Valentine in particular defied Roman Emperor Claudius II, who forbade young men to marry because he believed single men made better soldiers. Valentine performed secret marriages for young couples that wished to marry, showcasing both heroism and romanticism.
Some claim the date of the holiday is the anniversary of St. Valentine’s death or burial, but this isn’t certain. Others say that the Christian church chose the date to “Christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia (a fertility festival), which occurred annually on February 15th. When Pope Gelasius I declared February 14th Valentine’s Day in A.D. 496, Lupercalia was outlawed.
It wasn’t until many, many years later, during the Middle Ages, that the holiday would become associated with love.
The United States is home to some lovely cities, including Loveland (Colorado), Romeoville (Illinois), Love Valley (North Carolina), and Valentine (Texas).
When you live in a country as big as the United States, you can bet that there are cities and towns with a wide assortment of interesting names. In addition to the ones listed above, you could visit these romantically named places:
- Romance, Missouri
- Romeo, Florida
- Love Hill, Alabama
- Love Lady, Tennessee
- Loveville, Maryland
- Lover, Pennsylvania
- Loving, Georgia
- Heart, Arkansas
Valentine’s Day is also celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia.
Americans aren’t the only ones who celebrate Valentine’s Day on February 14th each year. While it isn’t a global holiday, several Western countries share this holiday with us. So if you wish to send a valentine to a friend in Mexico, a pal across the pond, or even a mate living Down Under, they’ll understand the sentiment. But don’t hesitate to send valentines to friends living in countries that don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day too! They’ll probably enjoy the novelty of it. In fact, it may be their very first valentine!
An estimated 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year.
While that’s certainly a big number and valentines play a critical role in the celebration of the holiday, more cards are actually sent at Christmastime each year (source). Oddly, women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines. Let’s hope the fellas are making homemade cards! Or perhaps they’re finding another way to share their affection and devotion with loved ones.
The heart shape, which dates back to the 14th century, wasn’t always a romantic symbol.
The heart shape – ♥ – doesn’t closely resemble the actual shape of a human heart. (Fun fact: It does resemble the four chambers of a heart if it is cut open.) So where did it come from? Before the 14th century, the heart shape was used simply as a decorative shape, without any connection to love. However, people soon began thinking more about the idea of romantic love, and they often believed that feelings for one’s beloved were “written” on one’s heart. Eventually, the heart shape and romantic love became permanently bonded in our culture.
As these fun facts about Valentine’s Day show, February 14th is more than just a “Hallmark holiday.” It actually dates back to Ancient Rome! Whether you’re planning to surprise someone special with a romantic date, hanging out with friends, or cherishing some alone time, we wish you a very happy Valentine’s Day!
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