A collage of a Hooray Heroes love book and a couple with heir avatars.

7 Fun (and Weird) Bits of Valentine’s Day Trivia!

A collage of a Hooray Heroes love book and a couple with their avatars.

Whether or not you’ve already managed to find a gift for your significant other (we think a personalized book for couples would be a great choice…), the day itself is not without its own brand of peculiarity. So dive right in as we explore a few of the strangest facts we’ve uncovered about Valentine’s Day!

1. Who was Saint Valentine?

Originating as a Roman feast day, Valentine’s Day honored the Christian martyr, St. Valentine, on February 14th. Valentine of Terni (or of Rome in some tellings) was a third century Roman citizen who was imprisoned during the reign of Claudius II for marrying soldiers during their military service. Though it might seem a trivial reason to go to jail, the belief at the time was that marriage diminished a soldier’s efficiency on the battlefield.

A statue of Saint Valentine.

Source: Pixabay

This fervent Christian was then tasked with healing the blind daughter of his jailer, Asterius. During this time, Valentine fell in love with Julia prompting him to write her a love letter prior to his execution on February 14, 271 AD. He signed it “from your Valentine” giving rise to the celebration of St. Valentine’s Day that we all know today.

2. When did we start celebrating Valentine’s Day?

The Roman Pope Gelasius officially declared February 14 “St. Valentine’s Day” at the end of the 5th century. However, it wasn’t until the Middle Ages, the 1300s to be precise, that it officially became a holiday associated with love.

A white bunny holding and surrounding by hearts.

Source: Pixabay

While some believe that the date was chosen for the untimely death of St. Valentine, there are others who trace it back to a pagan fertility festival called “Lupercalia”. This festival was celebrated on the 15th of February in Rome and included animal sacrifice and a bizarre tradition of smacking women with animal hides (to increase their fertility).

3. Cupid is a lot older than he looks

Cupid and Valentine’s Day are an inseparable duo today, but the bow and arrow wielding cherub was once a much more intimidating figure. His origins can be traced all the way back to 700 B.C. as the son of the Greek goddess Aphrodite, Eros. Eros, unlike Cupid, was depicted as a handsome man in his late teens who had the power to make people fall in love. While the chubby, merry character we know and love does this with innocence and good will, Eros’ motives were quite the opposite. His actions were often interpreted as a kind of madness inflicted upon mankind causing mayhem on Earth.

A heart made out of many tiny silhouettes of cupid.

Source: Pixabay

The Romans eventually transformed Eros into Cupid in the 4th century B.C. by heavily connecting his stories to his mother’s. By doing this, he became Aphrodite’s obedient son and (adorable) underling. His name and age were changed, and he was armed with a bow and arrow for good measure. By the time the 19th century rolled around, Cupid had become the mascot of Valentine’s Day thanks to his innate match-making abilities.

4. The very first mass-produced Valentine’s only appeared in the mid-1800s

The idea of exchanging gifts goes way back with this holiday. The first Valentine was apparently sent in the early 1400s by a French medieval duke named Charles (who was in prison at the Tower of London at the time) to his wife.

A bouquet of red roses.

Source: Pixabay

The tradition of giving flowers dates back to the 17th century when King Charles II of Sweden learned of the “language of flowers” while on a trip to Persia. This “language” assigns a specific meaning to every flower. For example, red roses quickly became a symbol of romantic love while white ones stood for chastity and innocence. Once the concept was brought to Europe, every blossom that was given was more than just a flower. It was a message too.

5. There’s a Valentine’s Day alternative for singles!

For those among us not in a relationship, International Quirkyalone Day offers singles the chance to celebrate their love for themselves and their own lives!

The silhouette of a woman standing on the beach with a sunset behind her.

Source: Pixabay

The idea was the 2003 brainchild of Sasha Cagen author of “Quirkyalone: A Manifesto for Uncompromising Romantics.” She believed that Valentine’s Day was far too commercial and that it left a great number of people out of its observance. This is why she created Quirkyalone Day – to focus on self-worth rather than the need to be part of a couple. For many, it’s a reminder that there is nothing wrong with just being you.

6. Valentine’s Day is celebrated a little differently in different parts of the world

Now that our products are also available in Brazil, we know that the Brazilians celebrate Valentine’s Day on June 12 instead of February 14th! In Columbia, however, the big day falls on the third Saturday in September!

Hooray Heroes happy customers from Brazil and their personalized love books.
Hooray Heroes happy customers from Brazil and their personalized love books.

Japan has a fascinating tradition surrounding the celebration of love. There the tradition is for women to give sweet treats to the men in their lives. It is the quality of these treats that indicates the giver’s true feelings for the receiver. One month later, on March 14th, men are given the opportunity to do the same on what is known there as “White Day”.

7. Americans do some serious spending for Valentine’s Day

Now, we all know that Valentine’s Day can be an expensive holiday, but the numbers are finally in. A survey conducted by the National Retail Federation showed that shoppers expected to spend a whopping $175.41 per person (on average) on Valentine’s Day gifts. They also reported that overall spending had increased from $21.8 billion in 2021 to $23.9 billion in 2022! It is probably unsurprising to hear that jewellery is currently the top Valentine’s Day gift. The next most popular expense was a night out, followed by the usual flowers, chocolates, and clothing.

A woman's necklace and an accompanying box.

Source: Pixabay

On top of that, a stunning number of pet owners in the USA give presents to their pets on Valentine’s Day! Approximately 41 million adults will shower their dogs with gifts while 31.5 million adults will be doing the same for their kitties.

There’s no wrong way to celebrate!

While we likely all feel the pressure to show our love through spending, there are many, many low cost gift ideas out there that will keep you well under that aforementioned $175.41. If you’re struggling, Hooray Heroes has the solution – we offer a number of adorable freebies for couples in love along with personalized Valentine’s Day cards and books (hard and soft cover) that are sure the charm any heart (and are kind to any wallet).

For those looking for something for their furry companions, we have a heart-warming personalized book for pet owners that is sure to be a real cuddle inducer!    

At the end of the day, the only rule this time of year is to ensure that, whatever the gesture, that it comes from the heart.