Valentine’s Day is slowly being redefined from a traditional ‘couples’ holiday to a celebration of love in all shapes and sizes.
But some traditional Valentine’s customs are still going strong and we put together a list of 14 things forever linked to this romantic holiday and added a few interesting facts for you to impress your Valentine.
1. What flower represents Valentine’s Day?
The red rose
The color red represents love and passion and the rose was also the favorite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love.
2. What does the X in XOXO mean?
The origins of XO representing ‘hugs & kisses’ are somewhat of a mystery, but there is a widely accepted theory about the “X” part.
In the Middle Ages, illiterate people would sign official documents with an ‘X’ and then kiss the signature to show their sincerity.
3. Which ancient god is the plump cherub with the bow and arrow we see flying around on Valentine’s?
He’s the son of Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty. His bow and arrow aren't just for show either, according to folklore he uses them to cast spells of love into our hearts.
4. If you show your feelings easily, where do you wear your heart?
On your sleeve
The phrase originates from the Middle Ages when young people would draw names of their Valentine written on a piece of paper and then pin them to their sleeves for a week for everyone to see.
5. Who was responsible for the St Valentine's Day Massacre in Chicago in 1929?
The massacre was a clash between the bootlegging gangs of Al Capone and Bugs Moran in their struggle to control organized crime during the Prohibition.
6. What color rose would you give to a friend for Valentine’s?
The bright color is synonymous with happiness and getting a yellow rose lets your friend know that their friendship brings joy and energy into your life.
You and your friends can also travel to Finland, where Valentine’s is called Ystävänpäivä or ‘Friend’s day’. The emphasis there is on the love between friends, not lovers.
7. What’s the most popular flavor of candy on Valentine’s?
According to the American National Confectioners Association, caramels are the most popular flavour, followed by chocolate-covered nuts, chocolate or cream-filled candies and coconut flavoured confectioneries.
8. What do women traditionally give men on Valentine’s Day in Japan?
While it’s tradition for women in Japan to buy chocolates for their loved ones, they are also expected to buy them for their male co-workers.
9. People with what job receive the most Valentine’s cards?
Elementary school teachers
The other top 5 to receive the most Valentine’s Cards are children, mothers, wives and pets.
10. What fruit is also known as the "love apple"?
One of the theories is that due to their heart shape, tomatoes were considered an aphrodisiac and were named 'pomme d'amour' (love apple) by the French because of that.
11. Who was the legendary Benedictine monk whose name is synonymous with champagne?
He was a cellar master who pioneered several winemaking techniques that are now associated with modern-day champagne.
Among others, he was the first to blend different kinds of grapes, introduce corks instead of wood and use thicker glass in champagne bottles to withstand the pressure.
12. Besides being the patron saint of love, what is St. Valentine also a patron of?
Besides protecting lovers, St. Valentine’s was also charged with ensuring the sweetness of honey and the protection of beekeepers.
13. Today the heart is the organ associated with love. Which internal organ was believed to cause love in the Middle Ages?
In Antiquity, Aristotle defined the heart as the seat of reason, which was generally accepted until the Roman physician Galen decided that the heart was responsible for all emotions, except for love, which resided in the liver.
14. ‘Ljubim te’ (Loobeem tae) is I LOVE YOU in what language?
The Slovenian language has two different expressions that let people define the depths of their love.
‘Ljubim te’ is reserved for your one true love, while ‘Rad te imam’ (radt tee iemam) is what you say to people you care about deeply, like your family and close friends.