Valentine’s Day is a very popular day for Canadians. It’s one of those holidays that you better not forget! Like many of the holidays we celebrate today, Valentine’s Day has a colorful past. Here are just a few things about Valentine’s Day that you might not have known.
It’s not just about couples!
Single? No problem! Valentine’s Day is not just about couples anymore. According to a 2011 study from Communispace, a leading player in consumer insights, 83% of people who celebrated Valentine’s Day in 2010 gave a Valentine Gift or Card to their children, while only 66% of them gave it to their lover. This study also states that a considerable amount of people have sent Valentine cards to their mothers. Surprised?
St. Valentine… Who is He?
There are more than one St. Valentine among the Catholic saints. In fact, there are around 14 of them. Around the 3rd to the 7th century, “Valentine” was a popular name. As for the “Valentine” we celebrate on February 14, next to no information exists. In addition, since there are so many martyrs of the name, it is unclear which of them are the namesakes of the holiday. As such, there are various legends about just who this saint really was.
Although the Catholic Church established the official Valentine’s Day in 496 AD, they later removed it from the calendar in 1969. The reason for this was the questionable origins of Saint Valentine. Since not much information on him existed, he did not really fit the criteria for saintly celebration.
The Birds are Mating! It Must be a time for lovers!
Geoffrey Chaucer, considered one of the Middle Ages’ greatest poets, wrote the “Parlement of Foules” in 1382. This poem holds the honor of being the first mention of Valentine’s Day as a special time for lovers. In modern times, people assumed that Chaucer was talking about February 14, but in reality… that is an odd time for the birds to start mating. Even so, it still sets the scene for a day devoted to St. Valentine… whoever he is.
Valentine’s Day…a Greeting Card Company Conspiracy?
For some reason, many people still believe that Valentine’s Day is a creation of the greeting card industry. Consider this: People were exchanging handmade paper, woodcut and papyrus greeting cards since the 15th century. Commercialized greeting cards for Valentine’s Day did not take off until the early to mid-19th century. That is a 400-year gap! Hallmark did not even produce its first valentine until 1913.
Another fun fact: Women purchased about 85 percent of the approximately 1 billion cards sent out globally.
Valentine’s Day has been around for a long time. It is not a recent phenomenon; it is old and rich with history. Keep that rich history in mind when you share Valentine’s this year with your loved ones!