Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching, and we’re so excited! We love love, and what’s not to love about a day that’s dedicated to celebrating love, eating chocolate, and indulging in a bunch of rom-coms (we see you, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days!).
Most of us have been celebrating Valentine’s Day since we were little, so it’s easy to assume that we know everything there is to know about February 14th. We thought it would be fun to dive into some of the lesser-known facts about Valentine’s Day - you know, just in case you need some fun facts to share with your Valentine!
Here are some of our favorite facts (and some of them may surprise you!):
An ancient pagan fertility festival called Lupercalia took place between February 13th and 15th of every year on the Roman calendar. During this festival, women would get whipped with animal hides as a way of promoting fertility. Centuries later, Pope Gelasius outlawed Lupercalia and replaced it with Valentine’s Day—thankfully, a much less violent celebration of love.
The popular NBC TV show Parks and Recreation created the concept of Galentine’s Day in a 2010 episode. In this particular episode, the main characters Leslie Knope and Anne Perkins declare their friendship love for each other and get each other gifts on February 14th. The concept of Galentine’s Day has stuck; spending on Valentine’s Day gifts for friends is now valued at a whopping $2.1 billion!
It’s such a popular day, in fact, that over six million couples get engaged on this day each year. We see you, heart-shaped engagement ring!
Even though the spending associated with Valentine’s Day has been steadily increasing, the total number of people celebrating Valentine’s Day overall has been steadily decreasing. Ten years ago, over 72% of Americans reported celebrating Valentine’s Day. Now, just over 50% of Americans report celebrating Valentine’s Day. Reasons for skipping the holiday of love include:
Hey, fair enough!
Esther Howland, also known as the “Mother of the American Valentine,” released her first set of Valentine’s Day cards for sale in the mid-1800s. Fast forward a few years, and Ms. Howland was making an impressive $100,000 per year—the equivalent of $3 million in today’s dollars. Get that money, girl!
In 2010, a group of 39,897 individuals undertook an ambitious endeavor on Valentine’s Day—the World’s Largest Group Kiss! The kiss took place in Mexico City and hasn’t been replicated since. Thinking about organizing another large group kiss? Well, you better be ready to pucker up!
In the 1700s, young European girls would use Valentine’s Day to write the names of potential spouses on pieces of paper. The girls would cover the pieces of paper in clay, and then would wait to see which piece of paper floated up to the top first. Whichever name was on that first piece of paper would supposedly reveal the name of the man whom they were supposed to marry. We WISH it could be that easy!
Valentine’s Day works a little differently in Japan—only women are expected to participate in giving chocolate to their male partners. It is said that the greater quantity and quality of chocolate that a woman gives her male partner, the more she loves him. If this all seems pretty unfair to the women of Japan, don’t worry! Japanese women get their turn to receive chocolates on March 14th, aka Japan’s White Day.
Currently, Valentine’s Day is a 27.4 billion dollar industry. The average man spends around $153.65 on Valentine’s Day gifts, whereas the average woman spends around $77.89 on Valentine’s Day. Since we love our pets, it’s no surprise that we also spend a lot on our pets for Valentine’s Day—$1.7 billion, to be exact!
Conversation hearts date all the way back to the early 1800s when they were first utilized as medicinal lozenges. Boston pharmacist, Oliver Chase found a way to simplify the process of making these lozenges and added sugar. Chase founded Chase & Co. with his brother, which later turned into the New England Confectionery Co., aka NECCO. The rest is history!