Every year February 14, as a symbol of love, people around the world celebrate Valentine’s Day with their loved ones – family, friends or lovers.
This day however is also common for many historical symbols that relate to it in various ways.
1. In the Roman Empire during the reign of Emperor Claudius II around the 4 Century A.D, the Emperor outlawed marriages done during war seasons.
However, Bishop Valentines went against these rules and performed weddings in secret.
For this reason, St. Valentines got jailed and finally executed. While in jail Valentines wrote a letter dedicated to her daughter signing it with ‘yours Valentines’.
It may have also been promoted to overshadow a pagan festival Lupercalia, a pre-Roman annual festival dedicated to Faunus, a Roman god of agriculture and to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus, believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or a lupa.
The priest would sacrifice a goat for fertility and a dog for purification.
They would strip the goat’s hide in strips then drip them in sacrificial blood, then take off to the streets, gently slapping both the women and the crops with the goats hides because it was believed to help women with child fertility for the coming year.
Later on the women placed their names in a big urn, the city bachelors would each choose a name and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended up getting married to each other.
2. Valentine’s Days is the second largest period of time people exchange cards in a year as approximately 1 billion Valentine Day cards as opposed to about 2.6 billion cards sent during the Christmas holidays.
3. Valentine’s Day was introduced in Japan in 1936 and became popular. However because of translation error made by a chocolate company, only women buy valentine chocolate for their spouses, boyfriends or friends.
Men do not return the favour till White Day an ‘answer day’ to valentines which is on March 14.
4. On Valentine’s Day in 2010, 39,897 people in Mexico broke the world record for the world’s largest group kiss ever.
5. Rebuses, a Latin word for ‘things’ are some of the oldest handmade Valentines messages puzzle or riddle like symbols to indicate word meaning.
For example, a picture of a bee and another of a gold mine would indicate the sentiment “Be mine.”
6. Throughout history, approximately eight St. Valentines have had a special feast in their honor. The two that most likely inspired Valentines are Valentine of Rome and Valentine of Terni as some scholars speculate they are actually one person.
7. February 14 in the year 269 an almond tree near the grave to Valentin of Terni gave burst with pink flowers and all the birds choose mates hence the term “Love birds”
8. According to a Welsh tradition, a child born on Valentine’s Day was said to have many lovers and a calf born on this day would be no use breeding purpose.
9. On this day 1779, James Cook was killed by native of Hawaii
10. Teachers receive the most Valentine’s cards followed by children, mothers and wives.
A kiss on valentine day
11. A kiss on Valentine’s Day is considered to bring good luck all year.
12. The most popular flower on this day is a single red rose which is considered the flower of Venus, the Roman.
13. Richard Cadbury produced the first box of chocolate meant for gifting loved ones on the Valentine’s Day in the late 1800s.
14. Condom factory Durex reports that condom sales are 20-30 percent higher around Valentine’s Day.
By George Ogallo