It’s Valentine’s Day; the famous February 14 when people worldwide somehow find it the most suitable day of the year to acknowledge their love and affection for their respective partners.
While you enjoy gifts and greeting cards and feasts galore today, here are 10 interesting facts about Valentine’s Day:
1. There are two theories regarding origin of Valentine’s Day.
One is that it is derived from Roman festival Lupercalia, celebrated on February 15, where men stripped in public and spanked young girls to up their fertility.
Second is, the execution of Saint Valentine on February 14 for defying the ban imposed by Roman Emperor Claudius II forbidding young men to marry.
2. According to The Greeting Card Association, Valentine’s Day is the second most popular occasion after Christmas when around 190 million greeting cards are sold every year.
3. Richard Barrow Cadbury, the founder of Cadbury’s cocoa and chocolate company, who is responsible for making chocolates an important part of Valentine’s Day celebration.
It was in 1868 that he presented a self-painted heart-shaped box full of chocolates to his partner. Thus started the tradition!
4. Do you know many people consider their pets as their Valentine? And why not, after all where will you find such selfless love! No wonder, in 2015, in the US only, people spent $703 million on gifts for their pets on Valentine’s Day.
5. The Society of American Florists has found that it is men who buy flowers, especially red roses, more than women on Valentine’s Day.
Every year, over 110 million roses are sold in the US, of which 75% are bought by men. Worldwide, the contribution of men towards flower sales on Valentine’s Day is 73%.
6. Verona city in northern Italy is famous as the home of William Shakespeare’s eternal lovers Romeo and Juliet. Even today, every year on the Valentine’s Day (February 14), the Italian city receives around 1000 letters addressed to Juliet.
7. A recent survey by an online portal has found that on an average 220,000 marriage proposals are made every year on Valentine’s Day.
8. The colour red goes hand-in-hand with Valentine’s Day celebration – red roses, red soft toys, red toy hearts, red greeting cards, red dress code, and the list goes on and on.
You know why? Because the colour red is associated with intense passion and strong romantic feelings.
9. Coming to red rose, do you know why men mostly get red roses for their lady love on Valentine’s Day? Well, that’s because red rose is the favourite flower of Roman Goddess of Love, Venus.
10. If you are single, don’t despair. If not Valentine’s Day, you can very well celebrate Singles Awareness Day (S.A.D.) on the same day (February 14), though the official celebration is marked on February 15.
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.