Love Is In The Air!
February 14th is just around the corner. The last few months have been the hottest the world has ever seen, so logically Valentine’s Day is also going to be one of the hottest V-Days ever. I decide to set out on an epic quest to the remote corners of the earth, to unearth the amazing facts surrounding Valentine’s Day. I put on my heavy leather boots, stocked up on food and drink, wore my explorer’s helmet, kicked the pedal and … started up the Search engine!
V-Day is the world’s top-selling excuse to ask your heart-throb out on a date. Okay, I made up that statistic. But let’s look at some pretty amazing Valentine stories and stats out there.
#1 First the serious stuff, where St Valentine goes to heaven
It’s Saint Valentine’s Day, don’t forget. You gotta give credit where it’s due. Old Saint Valentinus went about performing weddings for Roman soldiers who were not allowed to marry. He was tossed into jail for this and his end was nigh. But before he went off to the Pearly Gates he wrote a letter to the daughter of his jailor, and signed it ‘From your Valentine’. Somewhere around the Middle Ages in the 1700s, lovers got on to sending cards and flowers and other lovey dovey stuff and hey, another commercially driven happy day was born! And yes, St Val was buried on 14th February.
#2 Heart shaped chocolate boxes – someone had to make the first ones!
Richard Cadbury (yes, that Cadbury family) gave his sweetheart chocolates in a heart-shaped box in 1868. Every year tens of millions of heart-shaped boxes of chocolates are sold on Valentine`s Day.
#3 ‘You are my pet’ takes a very literal meaning on V-Day.
This Valentine’s day, pet owners in the US will spend over 700 million dollars on gifts for their dogs, monkeys and pet rocks.
#4 Screw Lovers’ Day, let’s celebrate Loners’ Day
China’s Singles Day (aka Bachelors Day) is celebrated on Nov 11, and is infamous for online shopping! The Chinese Lonely Club spends over 8 billion dollars on online shopping bargains on this day.
#5 Roses and French Letters, how romantique!
About 50 million roses are given on Valentine`s Day around the world. Women tend to buy roughly 85% of all the Valentine`s Day cards sold. According to the condom company Durex, condom sales are highest around Valentine’s Day, which are 20–30% higher than usual. So we know who’s buying what, or do we?
# 6 Valentine`s Day is the most popular day of the year for sending cards. Not.
Valentine’s Day is second only to Christmas in this respect. There are approximately 1 billion Valentine`s Day cards exchanged every year in the U.S. alone. But with all that, Baby Jesus clearly trumps San Valentino in the popularity stakes.
# 7 Grammar lesson on V-Day
The phrase ‘to wear your heart on your sleeve’ has historical meaning. In the Middle Ages young people would draw the name of their ‘valentine’ from a bowl. They had to then wear that name on their sleeve for a week. Some enterprising chaps wore a different name on their inner shirt sleeve. Heh heh!
# 8 The greatest Valentine’s Day gift to humanity
Penicillin, a popular treatment for venereal diseases such as syphilis, was introduced on February 14th in 1929. It went on to save millions of lives
#9 The oldest Valentine was from inside a jail, they say.
The oldest surviving valentine dates from 1415. It is a poem written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife. At the time, the duke was being held in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt.
#10 A special day for protestors too
In India, several right wing groups get set on Valentine’s Day every year to protest this ‘shameless festival that is an attack on Indian culture’. Of course, Indian mythology has Kamadeva, the god of love who wields a bow of flowers, causing couples struck by his arrows to fall in love. But that doesn’t stop the moral police from playing ‘kabab mein haddi’ with those in love.
So go ahead and impress your beloved over the dinner date this Sunday. If these ten nuggets aren’t enough and the night stretches on, just make up some really wild and fantastic V-Day tales. Viva San Valentino!