Learn 15 fascinating pieces of trivia about Valentine’s Day that you may not know.
1. Valentine’s Day is a $14.7 billion industry in the United States.
2. Children between the ages of 6-10 exchange more than 650 million valentine cards a year.
3. Teachers receive the most valentines, followed by children, mothers, and wives.
4. Pope Gelasius established Valentine’s Day in A.D. 500 in an attempt to appropriate the ancient pagan Roman fertility festival, Lupercalia, into Christianity.
5. Throughout history, there have been approximately eight Saint Valentines. The two who most likely inspired Valentine’s Day are Valentine of Terni and Valentine of Rome.
6. Saint Valentine is the patron saint of lovers and engaged couples. He is also the patron saint of epilepsy (which he is said to have suffered), greetings, travelers, young people, and bee keepers.
7. The first American valentine was produced in 1834 by New York engraver Robert Elton.
8. Approximately 85 percent of Valentine’s Day cards are purchased by women, according to the Greeting Card Association.
9. In 2010, 25% of adults bought flowers or plants as a Valentine’s gift. Of these, 60% were men and 40% were women. Men mainly bought flowers for romantic reasons, while women bought flowers for their mothers and friends, as well as their sweethearts.
10. Candy conversation hearts have a shelf life of five years. Nearly 10 new candy conversation heart sayings are introduced each year. Recent additions have included “Yeah Right,” “Puppy Love,” and “Call Home.”
11. The most popular flower on Valentine’s Day is a single red rose surrounded with baby’s breath. The red rose was the flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love.
12. Different colored roses have different meanings. Red means love, yellow means friendship, and pink means friendship or sweetheart. Red carnations mean admiration, white carnations mean pure love, red chrysanthemums mean love, forget-me-nots mean true love, primrose means young love, and larkspur means an open heart.
13. In Germany, girls would plant onions in a pot on Valentine’s Day, and next to the onions, they placed the name of a boy. They believed they would marry the boy whose name was nearest the first onion to grow.
14. On Valentine’s Day, Oregon and Arizona were admitted to the Union (1859 and 1912), James Polk became the first president photographed while in office (1848), UPS (United Parcel Service) was formed (1919), the League of Women Voters was established (1920), Aretha Franklin recorded “Respect” (1967), Richard Nixon installed a secret taping system in the White House (1971), and Voyager I took a picture of the entire solar system (1990).
15. On Valentine’s Day 2010, 39,897 people in Mexico City broke the record for the world’s largest group kiss.