Thursday, February 10, 2011

Today's Trivia – Valentine’s Day

In a few day’s, it’s going to be valentine’s day, so how can I resist sharing some trivia about it on this week’s post of useless but interesting information? I can’t.

Let’s get right to it...

- Valentine's Day is named after the Patron Saint - Saint Valentine.

- The greeting card association estimates that approximately one billion valentine's are sent annually world-wide, making it the second highest card sending holiday, behind Christmas.

- The greeting card association estimates that 85% of all Valentine cards are purchased by women.

- An estimated 25% of Valentine's Day cards are humorous.

- St. Valentine's Day was declared an official holiday in 1537 when England's King Henry VIII declared it for the first time.

- In the middle ages, people believed that the first unmarried person of the opposite sex that they met on the morning of Valentine's Day was the person they were destined to marry.

- In the middle ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who their valentines would be. They would wear these names on their sleeves for one week. To wear your heart on your sleeve now means that it is easy for other people to know how you are feeling.

- In Medieval times, girls ate unusual foods on St. Valentine's Day to make them dream of their future husband.

- The ancient celtic tradition of giving hand carved wooden love spoons as Valentine's gifts began in Wales. Often, hearts, keys, and keyholes, symbolizing that the receiver unlocked the giver's heart, were carved as decoration on the spoon.

- While 75% of chocolate purchases are made by women all year long, during the days and minutes before Valentine's Day, 75% of the chocolate purchases are made by men.

- Elaborate handmade love messages, cards and gifts for Valentine's Day became popular during the 17th century.

- It was believed that if a woman saw a robin flying overhead on Valentine's Day, it meant she would marry a sailor.

- Valentine's Day is not just for lovers anymore. More than 190 Valentine's Day cards are bought every year, including cards for friends, family, and lovers.

- If you add in the Valentine's that children exchange in class, that number increases to over 1 billion Valentine's per year.

- Consumers spend an average of over $75 on Valentine's Day gifts, the most popular being chocolates, food, wine, and flowers.

- 15% of U.S. women send themselves flowers on Valentine's Day.

- 73% of people who buy flowers for Valentine's Day are men, while only 27 percent are women.

- About 3% of pet owners will give Valentine's Day gifts to their pets.

- California produces 60 percent of American roses, but the vast number sold on Valentine's Day in the United States are imported, mostly from South America.

- Approximately 110 million roses, the majority red, will be sold and delivered within a three-day time period.

- During the late 1800s, postage rates around the world dropped, and the obscene St. Valentine's Day card became popular, despite the Victorian era being otherwise very prudish. As the numbers of racy valentines grew, several countries banned the practice of exchanging Valentine's Days cards. During this period, Chicago's post office rejected more than 25,000 cards on the grounds that they were so indecent, they were not fit to be carried through the U.S. mail.

- Hallmark has over 1330 different cards specifically for Valentine's Day.

- In the United States, 64 percent of men do not make plans in advance for a romantic Valentine's Day with their sweethearts.

- One single perfect red rose framed with baby's breath is referred to by some florists as a "signature rose," and is the preferred choice for many for giving on Valentine's Day, anniversary, or birthday.

- Only the U.S., Canada, Mexico, France, Australia and the U.K. celebrate Valentine's Day.

- Some people used to believe that if a woman saw a robin flying overhead on Valentine's Day, it meant she would marry a sailor. If she saw a sparrow, she would marry a poor man and be very happy. If she saw a goldfinch, she would marry a millionaire.

- Teachers will receive the most Valentine's Day cards, followed by children, mothers, wives, and then, sweethearts. Children ages 6 to 10 exchange more than 650 million Valentine's cards with teachers, classmates, and family members.

- In the 17th century, a hopeful maiden ate a hard-boiled egg and pinned five bay leaves to her pillow before going to sleep on Valentine's eve. It was believed this would make her dream of her future husband.

- The first American publisher of valentines was printer and artist Esther Howland. During the 1870s, her elaborate lace cards were purchased by the wealthy, as they cost a minimum of 5 dollars - some sold for as much as 35 dollars. Mass production eventually brought prices down, and the affordable "penny valentine" became popular with the lower classes.

- The Italian city of Verona, where Shakespeare's lovers Romeo and Juliet lived, receives about 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet every Valentine's Day.

- The oldest known Valentines were sent in 1415 A.D. by the Duke of Orleans to his French wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. It is still on display in a museum in England.

- In England, the Romans, who had taken over the country, had introduced a pagan fertility festival held every February 14. After the Romans left England, nearly a century later, the pagan ritual was abolished by Pope Gelsius who established St. Valentine's Day as a celebration of love in 496 A.D.

- In 1866, candy manufacturer NECCO made the first "Conversation Hearts" — then called "Motto Hearts." According to NECCO, eight billion of these little candies are sold between January 1 and February 14.

- More than 35 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate will be sold for Valentine's Day.

- In the middle of the 17th century even married people took a Valentine - not always their legal other half!

- Shakespeare made a reference to Valentine's Day in his play 'Hamlet', (Act 4, Scene 5)

- It was only in the 1980s that the diamond industry began to promote Valentine's Day as occasion for gifting diamond jewelry.

- A heart-shaped outline and the figure of the winged cupid are amongst the most popular Valentine's Day symbols.

- Two out of every three Valentine's Day cards are accompanied by a gift.

- In Victorian times, if you got a card on Valentine's Day, it meant bad luck.

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