The Facts of Love: St. Valentine's Day
- History: 1) >800 B.C. A pastoral festival of ritual cleansing called Februa, is celebrated on what becomes the 15th day of the Roman month; 2) ~400-800 B.C. The Roman festival of Lupercalia subsumes the festival of Februa.
Observed February 13 through 15, men stripped naked, grabbed whips, and spanked young maidens to increase health and fertility, avert evil spirits, and purify the city; 3) 270. On February 14, Saint valentine is executed by Emperor
Claudius II for performing marriages in secret after it was banned in order to boost army enlistment; 4) 500. St. Valentine's Day is officially established by pope Gelasius I at least 150 years after Christianity the official religion of the
Roman Empire to overshadow the Pagan celebration of Lupercalia; 5) 1382. Valentine's Day is first associated with romantic love by Geoffrey Chaucer in Parliament of Foules. "For this was Saint Valentine's Day, when every bird
cometh there to choose his mate..."; 6) 1420. The oldest surviving Valentine is written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife. "I'm already sick of love my very gentle Valentine..."; 7) 1847. The first mass-produced valentines are
produced and sold in the US by Esther Howland; 8) 1969. The feast day of Saint Valentine is removed from the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints; 9) 1996. The first e-valentine is sent giving rise to a new tradition of ecards, love
coupons and printable cards; 10) 2011. The Iranian printing works owners' union issued a directive banning the printing and distribution any goods promoting the holiday.
- Rings: 1) The first diamond ring was given by Archduke Maximilian of Austria to marry of Burgundy in 1477; 2) Wedding rings are typically worn on the left hand because the ring finger on the left hand contains the vena amoris, or
the vein of love; 3) Stock traders with long ring fingers made up to 11 times more earnings than those with average length ring fingers; 4) married men who wear a wedding band: 1920 - 20%; Today - 80%; 5) Average price of an
engagement ring in 2010: $2100; 6) Dollars spent on engagement rings last year: $4.4b.
- For every 100 single women in their 20s, there are 120 single men.
- Billions spent last year in the US: 1) Greeting cards - $10; 2) Candy - $30; 3) Valentine's day today - $15; 4) Flowers - $6.2; 5) Chocolate - $17.
- Christmas vs. Valentine's. It would take 38 years of valentine's Day retail spend to amount to a single year of Christmas spending ($15 vs. $566).
- Hearts: 1) The seed of the silphium plant has been suggested as the source of the heart symbol; 2) in mathematics, the implicit curve (X2 + y2 -1)3 – x2y3 = 0 yields an approximation of the heart shape.
- Roses: 1) Number of roses sold in the US on Valentine's Day: 189m; 2) 67% of roses sold on Valentine's Day are red; 3) The state produces the most cut roses: California; 4) In Scotland, if a white rose bloomed in autumn it was a
token of an early marriage.
- Love positions: 1) Africa. Yohimbe tree bark + how water = an increase in desire for men and women; 2) Uganda. Gray crowned crane egg + herbs = an increase in affection and monogamy; 3) East Java. Various concoction of
herbs = jamu ramuan, which restores youth to women and makes them more desirable to their husbands; 4) Dominican Republic. Rum + honey + red wine + tree bark = mamajuana, gives an increase in desire for men and women; 5)
Romania. Snow + heat = magic potion used by young girls on Dragobete Day to ward off illness for the rest of the year; 6) Finland. Blueberries + fermentation = Lappish love potion that gives an increase in desire.
- Cards: 1) 15m e-valentines; 2) 190m traditional valentines; 3) 1000m valentines including valentine-exchange cards made in school.
- Candy: 1) Americans eat 46 lbs of candy per year. roughly 1/4 the body weight for an average person; 2) 8 billion candy hearts will be produced this year. Laid end to end they would stretch for 250.000.000 feet.
- Around the world: 1) Brazil celebrates Lover's Day, called Dia dos Namorados, on June 12. It happens to come right after the feast of St. Anthony, known as the saint of matrimony; 2) In Norfolk, Jack Valentine, also known
as Old Father Valentine, knocks on the right before Valentine's Day and leaves treats and presents and then vanishes in the blink of an eye; 3) In Finland, citizens celebrate "Friends Day" on February 14. It's not just a day for romance -
it's also a day when friends send cards and gifts to each other; 4) On February 14th, people in Bulgaria celebrate Trifon Zarezan (Viticulturists Day), a centuries-old observance of the cult of Dionysus, the god of wine and merriment.
- Aphrodisiacs: 1) Greece 700 B.C. - carrots; 2) Mesoamerica A.D. 1400 - chocolate; 3) Europe 1800 - asparagus; 4) USA 1998 - viagra.