13 things you probably didn't know about Valentine's Day

Your must-know guide to all things Valentines [Photo: Getty]
Your must-know guide to all things Valentines [Photo: Getty]

From where the name Valentine’s Day comes from, to why we send roses and who forks out the most on heart-shaped gifts? Here’s everything you need to know about the love-liest day of the year…

It’s history is actually not that romantic

Historians believe Valentine’s Day actually originated in Ancient Rome as a pagan fertility festival called Lupercalia. During the celebrations the ancient priests would sacrifice a goat and then make their way around Rome, slapping women on the way with strips of the blood-soaked goat’s skin. So romantic!

It didn’t officially become a holiday associated with love and romance until the 1300s

Historians believe the holiday was celebrated in mid-February because that’s when birds start their mating season, hence the reason doves are often associated with love.

Saint Valentine was more than one person

The most common ‘founder’ of Valentine’s Day was the Saint Valentine who defied Emperor Claudius II. In case you’re not au fait with your roman history, Claudius had banned marriage because he thought it distracted young soldiers.

Valentine, however, felt differently; secretly and illegally marrying couples until he was caught and sentenced to death on February 14. Allegedly.

Since then there have been multiple St. Valentine’s throughout history.

Flowers aren’t the most popular gift on Valentines [Photo: Getty]
Flowers aren’t the most popular gift on Valentines [Photo: Getty]

The first Valentine’s Day card was sent in the 15th century

By the Duke of Orleans to his wife whilst he was a prisoner in the Tower of London.

In the UK, an average of 25 million cards are given on Valentine’s Day

That’s more than any other holiday, except Christmas. According to research women tend to buy approximately 85% of ALL the Valentine’s Day cards sold. What a surprise?!

Nowadays it’s pretty big business

According to Mintel loved-up Brits spent £620 million on Valentine’s Day in 2017 and this year sales of the soppy stuff are predicted to rise by 5% totalling a whopping £650 million.

Older millennials (aged between 28 to 37) are the most active Valentine’s Day spenders, with 60% of them buying gifts in 2017 and spending £81 on average.

Men are way more generous than women

Apparently men spend the most on their significant other on Valentine’s and other special occasions, as much as £230 more than the female of the species in some cases. Time to step up ladies?

The most popular gift for Valentine’s Day isn’t flowers

It’s jewellery, with consumers spending £112m on precious gems in 2017. According to Mintel, the sparkly stuff pulled in more money than flowers (£102m), clothing (£80), and greeting cards (£53m).

But flowers are still popular…

With approximately 50 million roses given on Valentine’s Day all around the world. Those who aren’t coupled-up are also keen not to miss out on the flower-love with 15% of women sending themselves flowers on Valentine’s Day.

We send roses on Valentine’s Day because…

The red rose was the favourite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love.

Humans aren’t the only lovers of Valentine’s Day

Every year at least nine million people buy their pets a gift on Valentines Day.

More than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolates are sold every year [Photo: Getty]
More than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolates are sold every year [Photo: Getty]

The first heart-shaped box of chocolates was introduced in 1868

Today, more than 36 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolates are sold each year. That’s a whopping 58 million pounds of chocolate.

There’s a reason everything is red on Valentine’s

It was once believed that the heart was the part of the body that the feeling of love came from. As the heart pumped red blood around the body, the colour became synonymous with love.

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