American poet, musician and songwriter Eden Ahbez once said in his song Nature Boy “The greatest thing you’ll ever learn Is just to love and be loved in return.” All of us may not be so romantic to think the same. In fact, even he himself might not have had the same opinion at all times. Nevertheless, one thing which is true is that love is arguably the best of human emotions. Love has had a great impact on the overall course of human civilization too. For love, wars have been fought, people have given sacrifices, volumes of literature have been written, tour de force of paintings have been painted, many a great innovations have been possible and so many other things have happened. Love has been widely accepted as a vital need for living life at the fullest. In absence of love, life seems so raw, barren and futile.
Love exists in different forms, as the love between a mother and her child, love of their pupils by teachers, love for our friends and others. Of all forms of love, romantic love is one of its kind. Romantic love is so often referred to and thought about by humans that when someone mentions a thing or few about “love”, we instinctively think of “romantic love”. Had not been for its ever alluring charm, romantic love wouldn’t be such close to being a synonym for love. In fact, humans have remained intent about romantic love so much that there happens to be a particular day from the year dedicated to it. And, that is what we call the “Valentine’s Day”, celebrated every year on the 14th of February. This annual festivity has its origins in Christianity but the fact that it is celebrated almost everywhere across borders, religions and cultures, albeit with some exceptions, has earned it the status of global “Festival of Love”. There are so many legends and myths about the origins of this day, each adding a significance to this day. And, at present, the statistics piled up around the day are equally remarkable.
Right here is the list of top 10 interesting facts about Valentine’s Day, each one of them noteworthy in their own way.
10. On Valentine’s Day, ladies don’t just see birds
It is amazing how people start believing some fallacies. Whatever be the origins of these fallacies, some fallacies about seeing of birds on a Valentine’s Day are of significant amuse. Once it was believed that if a woman saw a flying robin on Valentine’s day, she would end up getting married to a sailor. However, if it was the case of a sparrow, she would end up marrying a man that was poor and live a happy life. Meanwhile, if she saw a goldfinch, then she was to marry a man that was a millionaire. Lucky girl! We can only wonder who she would marry if she saw a pigeon, as history doesn’t say a thing about this bird.
9. Teachers receive the most Valentine’s Day cards
Studies suggest that teachers receive the most Valentine’s Day cards. Thinking of going to give some quality education to high school children? Well, much not use of that if you are thinking of it in some romantic way. The teachers rank atop the list as they receive cards from their students, particularly in the junior classes, most often one from each. The teachers are then followed by children, mothers. Wives and sweethearts come only after them on the list. This ordering doesn’t seem quite like the one we’d normally expect. Well, this is because Valentine’s Day is not only for sharing romantic love. It has been the way to express love to our family members, relatives and friends too. Then, the list doesn’t look that surprising!
8. Quirky alone day is also celebrated on February 14
What is this quirky alone day? Isn’t it Valentine’s Day on February 14? Then? The questions may be uprising inside you. Disappointed at having no one special for the day? No need for that now! As Valentine’s Day is basically meant for couples, alternative to the festival falling on this day has been devised in the name of “Quirky alone day”. This recently devised “International Quirky Alone Day” aims to celebrate a person’s individuality and singleness. It ties together all singles together in a single thread. The enthusiastic followers of this day cite it as a way to stand apart from Valentine Day’s marketing and take a pride at being single. Another alternate Valentine’s Day celebration is Single Awareness Day, which aims at reminding people that they don’t need to be in a relationship to celebrate life.
7. Valentine’s Day was associated with romantic love only in the Middle Ages
The celebration of Saint Valentine did not have any romantic implications to begin with. Such associations started only after Geoffrey Chaucer wrote a poem about “Valentines” in the 14th century. The poem was entitled “Parlement of Foules” and written in 1382. This poem was written so as to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia. There are many other instances of the association of this day with romantic love from middle ages. The oldest surviving valentine dates from 1415. It is a poem written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife while he was being held in the Tower of London after his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. This day was formally affirmed as a holiday by King Henry VII of England in 1537. All these events occurred during the middle ages.
6. Marriage proposals on Valentine’s Day are profuse
The number of marriage proposals taking place on Valentine’s Day is large, which is quite obvious as it is the special day for the lovers and their loved ones. But, statistics tell that the average number of wedding proposals that take place on a Valentine’s Day is 220,000. This amounts to 10% of all the marriage proposals taking place throughout any particular year. This means out of every ten marriage proposals all through the year, one must have taken place in this specific day. Quite an astonishing statistic!
5. Verona receives letters addressed to Juliet and a lot of them
Romeo and Juliet is the pinnacle of all romantic tragedies. The two characters from the play by William Shakespeare are remembered all over the world as the emblem of romance. The play by Shakespeare was based on the Italian city of Verona. On every Valentine’s Day, this city still receives about 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet. This just shows how immortal his characters from fiction have remained all through the years, withstanding changing times and tastes of people.
4. Different roses have different meanings
We often picture only a red rose, the symbol of love, in relation to this day. But different roses sent on this day have different meanings based on their color. Not just their color, the number of them also has special meaning. Red rose means love and respect. Pink is the way to tell “I am having sweet thoughts about you”. Meanwhile, white rose is the emblem of purity and states, “I am worthy of you”. Regarding the number of roses, 1 means love at first sight, 2 communicate the message “Marry me”, 6 signify a need to be loved or cherished, 11 assure the recipient they are truly and deeply loved, 12 is to tell “I love you”, 108 is recommended for marriage proposals and 999 means “We’ll always be together.”
3. The first Valentine cards were sent from prison cells
The legend has it that Saint Valentine, after whom this day has been named, sent the first of the Valentine cards, after which the ever enduring tale of love and romance surrounding the day started. He was imprisoned and sent to death by King Claudius II for marrying the king’s soldiers without his permission. While he was in prison, Saint Valentine fell in love with his jailer’s daughter and just before he was receiving the death penalty, he wrote to her from his cell. The love note was signed “From your Valentine”. And, with that, began the tradition of people having and being someone’s valentine.
2. Valentine’s Day is associated to a pagan festival “Lupercalia”
Lupercalia was an ancient and possibly pre-Roman rural festival. This festival was observed on February 13 through 15 so as to avoid evil spirits and cleanse the city. The festival was held in honor of Faunus who was the Roman god of agriculture. Part of the festival involved women placing their names into a big vessel, which would then be picked out by the city’s bachelors. Each bachelor was paired with the woman whose name he picked up. This was done at the beginning of the festival and the chosen woman would be his companion at the festival. Some theories suggest that the woman would actually be the bachelor’s sexual partner for the next year. These matches often ended in marriage. However, later Pope Gelasius abolished it thinking it was too “un-Christian.” The origin of Valentine’s Day is attributed to this festival too.
1. There were more than one St. Valentines
This day, the festival of love, is named after St. Valentine. But, who he exactly was is unknown. In some legend, it is said that he was the saint, who secretly married young soldiers with their loved ones, the act forbidden by king during his time. After his deeds were exposed, he is said to have been imprisoned and sentenced to death. However, numerous early Christian martyrs were named Valentine. The Valentines, officially honored by the Catholic Church on February 14 are Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni. Valentine of Rome was a Roman priest who received his martyrdom around the year AD 269. His relics are displayed in a Church in Rome as well as Dublin. Meanwhile, Valentine of Terni was the bishop of Interama around the year AD 197. He was killed by Emperor Aurelian. His relics are in display at the Basilica of Saint Valentine in Terni. Both Saints were buried on Via Flaminia, in Rome. The stories of these two Valentines often conflict with each other and so the exact identity is not unknown. As per some researchers, both were the same person. The only thing, we all can agree upon now, is the naming of the day being after St. Valentine and him being at the center of this festival of love.
Ever since people started celebrating Valentine’s Day, from its earliest forms, the festival has gone through lots of alterations. First, it was celebrated only by Christians. Now, the religion to which this day was initially associated is not a matter of big question. Almost every religion celebrates this festival, except the devout Muslims. In some Islamic states, it is even banned. People remember and celebrate the day in different ways. For couples, it is a way to express their love towards each other and rekindle their relationship. Some hopeful lovers look forward to this day so as to announce their feelings to someone they love for the first time. And, even the ones who “don’t have the time or drive for such feelings” look forward to this day with an air, an indifferent air, of course! But even in such differences, this day at least is remembered as the one relating to love, or more accurately romantic love. Share your love with us!