The "Surprising" History or Valentine's Day & Interesting Facts
1. Valentine's Day started with the Romans.
There are two theories about the origin of Valentine's Day. The first is that the day derives from Lupercalia, a raucous Roman festival on February 15 where men stripped naked and spanked young maidens in hopes of upping their fertility. The second theory is that while the Roman Emperor Claudius II was trying to bolster his army, he forbade young men to marry (apparently single men make better soldiers). In the spirit of love, St. Valentine defied the ban and performed secret marriages. For his disobedience, Valentine was executed on February 14.
2. The heart shape wasn't always a romantic symbol.
Prior to the 14th century, the shape we call a heart symbolized the anatomical heart, widely believed to be humans' center of memory, according to Time. It wasn't until Italian and French artists began championing the idea of romantic love that the St. Valentine heart became synonymous with love.
3. It's not the most popular holiday for greeting cards.
According to the Greeting Card Association, 190 million Valentine's Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine's Day the second most popular greeting card–giving occasion, after Christmas.
4. Single ladies have a good shot at finding a date.
There are 119 single men—never married, widowed or divorced—in their 20s for every 100 single women of the same age.
5. True love is apparently not that hard to find.
Over two million marriages take place in the United States every year. That means there are more than 6,000 a day!
6. Husbands and boyfriends like to give bouquets.
Men account for 73 percent of Valentine's Day flower sales.
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