Fun Valentine’s Day History
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Happy Valentine’s Day!
I wanted to find out something interesting about Valentine’s day, but didn’t think the usual “X amount of cards are sold on Valentine’s Day” or “X amount of people celebrate it” was an absolutely worth-while read. So, I dug a little deeper and found what I think are cool facts about Valentine’s Day – they kind of make you go “Wow, really?”
Long before St Valentine lived, February 14th had strong links with fertility. The date traditionally is known for when birds choose their mates.
February 15th was the date of the Roman festival of Lupercalia – the Wolf – where young men held a lottery to decide which girl would be theirs. In Medieval times, girls ate unusual foods on St Valentine’s Day to make them dream of their future husband.
In the Middle Ages, they also believed that the first unmarried person of the opposite sex you met on the morning of St Valentine’s Day, would become your spouse.
Elaborate handmade messages, cards and gifts became popular during the 17th century.
During the middle of the 17th century even married people took a Valentine – not always their legal ‘other half’!
By the 19th century, printed Valentine’s cards were on sale and extremely fashionable – in 1825 the Post Office handled more than 200,000 letters more than usual on St Valentine’s Day.
No one really knows who St Valentine actually was. There are two men who could be responsible for the traditional association with love and marriage, but the most likely theory is that Valentine was a priest during the reign of Roman Emperor Claudius II. The story goes that Emperor Claudius had issued a decree that Roman soldiers were not allowed to marry – because marriage would inhibit their ability to fight. But romantic Valentine continued to marry soldiers in secret, until eventually his clandestine activities were discovered and he was jailed. Before being beheaded he fell in love with his jailer’s daughter, for whom he left a note signed ‘Your Valentine’, before he was led away to his death.
For plenty more fun facts, Google “Valentine’s Day Facts” – you’ll get over a million hits!
Have a GREAT Day!