Lovebirds around the world will be celebrating Valentine's Day in a week from today, so here are some quick trivia about the celebrations that you may want to know:
- The day has its roots in a Pagan fertility festival called "Lupercalia", which was celebrated on Feb 15 in ancient Rome, by sacrificing animals and smacking women with animal hides - a practice that was believed to encourage fertility.
- You may know that Valentine's Day was named after its patron saint, St. Valentine, but legend says that there could at least two more other "Valentine's" who could have inspired the celebrations.
- The day became a holiday associated with love and romance in the 1300s.
- The oldest record of a valentine being sent was a poem written by a French medieval duke called Charles to his wife in 1415.
- The festival became commercialised in the 1840s, when Valentine's Day cards were mass-produced in the US.
- The number of roses you gift to your valentine matter. Red roses are the most sold and bought product, followed by chocolate and jewellery. In the US alone, about 250 million are produced for Valentine's Day. It is said that the number of roses you receive on the day signifies different things, such as a single stalk representing love, while two or 15 means an apology. Twelve stalks is said to mean that the giver is seeking marriage with the receiver, while 50 or more stalks means that your lover is in "complete control" or extremely rich.
- It's a prosperous day - for retailers. According to the US' National Retail Foundation, Americans spent over US$20 billion on Valentine's Day gifts in 2019! Men spend more on this day than women.
- Cards are still a thing. According to Hallmark, 145 million Valentine's Day cards are exchanged every February 14, with teachers being the biggest receivers annually, followed by children, mothers, and wives.
- In America, pets at millions of households receive Valentine's Day gifts from their owners, to the tune of a cool US$751.3 million!
- Millions of couple choose Feb 14 to get engaged. In a survey, over 40 per cent of men polled chose the day as the best date of the year to propose to their lovers.
- Feb 14 is observed differently around the world. Many Latin America countries observe the day as the day of love and friendship, where they also honour friends!
- In Ghana, Feb 14 is declared as National Chocolate Day to boost chocolate consumption in the country.
- Feb 14 is the most common wedding anniversary date in the Philippines as couples are increasingly choosing to get hitched on the day.
- In South Korea, Valentine's Day is celebrated over three days in three months starting from Feb 14. on Feb 14, women give chocolates to men, and a month later, women receive candies from men. Then on April 14, the singles eat black noodles.
- In Japan, women buy chocolates and gifts for their beloved, and the latter return the favour on March 14.
Is it worth splurging on once a year, or are the celebrations overrated?
Source: lifestyleasia.com, History.com
Photo source: pexels