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13 Fun Valentine's Day Facts That Will Surprise You

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When you start to think of Valentine’s Day, you may envision gorgeous flower bouquets, heart shaped balloons, tons of sweet treats and sentimental cards that are sure to make you blush. But have you ever stopped to think about how this tradition of celebrating love on February 14 came to be? Look no further than our list of interesting and fun Valentine’s Day facts to inform you and your loved ones on the history behind why this special day of love is celebrated.
While some of these little-known truths about the holiday may be sort of expected, like how much Americans spend on the perfect V-Day gift or when the very first Valentine's message was sent, others are more unusual. In fact, some of the earlier customs associated with the holiday were not romantic at all, but instead focused on fertility and included sacrificing animals. (We know, the complete opposite of a lovey-dovey grand gesture.)
Regardless of how much or how little you already know about the most loving day of the year, these factoids are sure to come in handy as an ice breaker for your Valentine’s Day party and will definitely give you the upper hand at any Galentine’s Day trivia  night.

1. St. Valentine wasn't just one person.
You may already know that Valentine's Day was named after its patron saint, St. Valentine — but there's actually some confusion surrounding which St. Valentine the holiday technically honors. According to, there are at least two men named Valentine that could've inspired the holiday, including one Valentine who was a priest in third century Rome. As the story goes, this Valentine defied Emperor Claudius II's ban on marriage (he thought it distracted young soldiers), illegally marrying couples in the spirit of love until he was caught and sentenced to death.
Another legend suggests that Valentine was killed for attempting to help Christians escape prison in Rome, and that he actually sent the first "valentine" message himself while imprisoned, writing a letter signed "From your Valentine."

2. Valentine's Day has its roots in an ancient Pagan festival.
Though some historians believe that Valentine's Day commemorates the death of St. Valentine on February 14, others believe that the holiday actually has its origins in a Pagan fertility festival called "Lupercalia," which was celebrated on February 15 in ancient Rome. Dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, and Roman founders Romulus and Remus, the day was celebrated by sacrificing animals and smacking women with animal hides, a practice that was believed to encourage fertility.
3. When is Valentine’s Day?

First, a quick refresher: Valentine's Day always falls on February 14. Valentine's Day 2023 is Monday, February 14, and Valentine's Day 2022 fell on a Monday. (For those wanting to make big plans, Valentine's Day 2024 will be Wednesday, February 14.)
At the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine's Day, and since then, February 14th has been a day of celebration—though it was generally more religious than romantic.

4. In the 1300s, it officially became a holiday associated with love.
At the end of the 5th century, Roman Pope Gelasius officially declared the date of February 14 "St. Valentine's Day." It wasn't until until the Middle Ages, though, that the holiday became associated with love and romance, a tradition that first started from the common belief in France and England that birds started their mating season on February 14.
5. The first valentine was sent in the 15th century.
The oldest record of a valentine being sent, according to, was a poem written by a French medieval duke named Charles to his wife in 1415. Charles penned this sweet note to his lover while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London at just 21 years old. One of the lines in the poem? "I am already sick of love, My very gentle Valentine." Swoon!

6. Not until the 1840s did we get the first mass-produced valentines.
People started exchanging cards and handwritten letters to both lovers and friends during the 17th century, but it was in the 1840s that the first Valentine's Day cards were mass-produced in the U.S., sold by Esther A. Howland. Known as the "Mother of the American Valentine," Howland is credited with commercializing Valentine's Day cards in America, and she is remembered for her elaborate, crafty cards made with lace and ribbons.
7. The tradition of giving Valentine's Day flowers dates back to the 17th century.
Giving red roses may be an obvious romantic gesture today, but it wasn't until the late 17th century that giving flowers became a popular custom. In fact, the practice can be traced back to when King Charles II of Sweden learned the "language of flowers" — which pairs different flowers with specific meanings — on a trip to Persia, and subsequently introduced the tradition to Europe. The act of giving flowers then became a popular trend during the Victorian Era — including on Valentine's Day — with red roses symbolizing deep love.
8. Nearly 250 million roses are grown in preparation for Valentine's Day each year.
There is a science to ensuring that there are enough fresh roses to go around when it comes to February 14. In an effort to provide the flowers for the holiday, countries including Ecuador, Kenya, or Columbia ship the roses to the U.S., since they do not grow in the colder temperatures we experience in February.
9. The color of flower given on Valentine's Day holds meaning.
While a red rose has traditionally symbolized love, other colors like deep pink, purple or white -- which symbolize happiness, royalty and sympathy respectively -- may be given on the holiday too.
10. Today, Americans spend a lot on love.
According to the National Retail Foundation, Americans spent over $20 billion on Valentine's Day gifts in 2019 and were expected to spend a record-breaking $27.4 billion for 2020 — including $2.4 billion on candy alone! People also expected to spend an average of approximately $196 for Valentine's Day, with men spending around $291 compared to women spending $106.
11. It's celebrated differently around the world.
Many Latin American countries know the holiday as el día de los enamorados (day of lovers) or día del amor y la amistad (day of love and friendship). Though couples exchange flowers and chocolate on this day, the holiday's focus is also directed at showing gratitude to friends.
In Japan, it's customary for just the women to give confections to the men in their lives, with the quality of the chocolate indicating their true feelings, according to Fortune. On March 14, exactly a month later, the men repay the favor by celebrating the increasingly popular "White Day."
12.What are some fun things to do for Valentine's Day?
You can celebrate the day of love however you want—even if it's just through self-love. Some ideas that could inspire you:
Plan a nice dinner out
Watch a romantic movie(at the theater or cozy at home)
Cook up a fancy romantic meal at home (or just a great Valentine's Day dessert)
Host a Valentine's Day party
Do some fun Valentine's crafts with your family


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