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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Valentine's Day: Fun Facts

Every year there are a handful of holidays that are celebrated by many who aren't quite sure exactly what or why that particular day is being celebrated. For my children Valentine's Day is of of those holidays. 

Just this week my son asked a few questions that were so simple but I found myself stumped while trying to answer them- "Mommy why do we give cards to our friends on valentine's Day?" "Why are all of the decorations red and pink?" Most importantly "What does Valentine mean?"

These questions got me interested in the "true meaning" of Valentine's Day. I have found some educational and fun facts from around the web that can be shared with our children this year:

*The roots of St. Valentine's Day can be traced back to the Roman fertility festival of Lupercalia. On Lupercalia, a young man would draw the name of a young woman in a lottery and would then keep the woman as a companion for the year.

*Saint Valentine's Day, commonly shortened to Valentine's Day, is a holiday observed on February 14 honoring one or more early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine.

*Many believe the 'X' symbol became synonymous with the kiss in medieval times. People who couldn't write their names signed in front of a witness with an 'X.' The 'X' was then kissed to show their sincerity.

*In 1537, England's King Henry VII officially declared February 14th the holiday of St. Valentine's Day.

*More than 35 million heart-shaped boxes of chocolate will be sold for Valentine's Day.

*Over $1 billion worth of chocolate is purchased for Valentine's Day in the U.S.

*The red rose was the favorite flower of Venus, the Roman goddess of love.

*In addition to the United States, Valentine's Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, France, Australia, Denmark, and Italy.

*The oldest surviving valentine dates from 1415. It is a poem written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife. At the time, the duke was being held in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt.

*Hallmark produced its first valentine in 1913.

*Famous Valentine's Day birthdays: Thomas Malthus (1766), Frederick Douglass (1817), Jack Benny (1894), Jimmy Hoffa (1913), Hugh Downs (1921), Florence Henderson (1943), Carl Bernstein (1944), Tim Buckley (1946), Gregory Hines (1946), Jules Asner (1968), Rob Thomas (1972), Steve McNair (1973)

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