Welcome back, our beloved viewers, to another edition from Top10Archive! Love is in the air for this very romance-filled installment. Plenty of people peg February 14th, Valentine’s Day, as nothing more than a Hallmark Holiday; but there is plenty of history behind this day of love and affection. In this video, we’re going to travel back in time - and dabble a little in the present - to take a look at some fun little historical facts about Valentine’s Day.
You may have heard the phrase “Vinegar Valentine” or “Penny Dreadfuls”, but chances are you aren’t quite aware of the origins. For those not privy, a Vinegar Valentine is a Valentine’s Day card sent with a mean message inside. Vinegar Valentines first surfaced in 1858, created by a New York City book and printing business run by John McLaughlin. During the early portion of the 20th century, the Chicago post office refused to send over 25,000 of these Vinegar Valentines, believing them to be too mean to deliver on the day of love.
The Welsh Patron Saint of Lovers
The most unique thing about the Welsh tradition of Valentine’s Day is that it is celebrated on January 25th and is known by the name of Dwynwen’s Day, named after the Welsh Saint Dwynwen. Dwynwen is remembered for a tragic love story that has several potential beginnings. Dwynwen was either raped by a young prince she fell in love with or was refused the chance to marry him; but regardless of the reason, Dwynwen sought to fall out of love, a prayer answered by an angel that erases her love for the young prince and turns him to ice. After a visit from God, Dwynwen is granted three wishes, one of which was to make her the Patron Saint of Lovers.
The High Court of Love
Each country has its own way of celebrating Valentine’s Day, but the people of France may have taking things to quite an extreme. In 1400, the city of Paris established the High Court of Love, which was an official venue that dealt with love contracts and anything pertaining to love. The High Court of Love was helmed by 30 women who took great pride in upholding the concept of Valentine’s Day and its symbol of love.
The True Knot of Love
If you’re looking for a truly unique Valentine to get your loved one this year, consider the True Knot of Love, otherwise known as the Endless Knot of Love. Popular in 17th century England, these Valentines were unique in that they could be read from any line and still be coherent. They were drawn as knots and required the writer to be able to write small and be able to create an endless string of lovely wording that could be read from any point without sacrificing the meaning.
The Holiday is a derivative of the Roman Lupercalia
Just about everything celebrated these days is a form of something from ancient history. It is believed by some historians that Valentines Day, a day of love and passion, was originated via the Roman holiday “Lupercalia”, a day that’s a little more colorful. The feast of Lupercalia had men slay goats and dogs and, with the skin of the animal they had slain, whip women. The odd part is that women weren’t forced into celebrating the ritual. Rather, they believed being whipped would make them fertile. Romantic, right? The festival fell between February 13th and February 15th, making February 14th the potential height of the oddity that was known as Lupercalia.
Groundhog Day Originally Fell on February 14th
Okay, so this is just a matter of using a different calendar, but Groundhog Day, currently celebrated on February 2nd, used to fall on February 14th prior to the implementation of the Gregorian Calendar. Celebration of Groundhog Day dates to roughly 1752, when the Gregorian Calendar was adopted into the British Empire. Some farmers in Mississippi and Arkansas even believe February 2nd to be too far away to determine how Spring is going to fare and have decided to stick to the original date of February 14th.
The Iranian Ban on Valentines Day
As most Iranians are aware, love is not an emotion that is welcomed everywhere. In 2011, in response to the potential creeping in of Western Culture, the Iranian government took drastic measures and banned all-things related to Valentine’s Day. This included all symbols of hearts, half-hearts, red roses, and activities – whatever those may be – that promote the holiday. If you think this is harsh, consider that the Iranian regime had also outlawed Western music, women playing in bands, bright nail polish, the mention of foreign food recipes in the media, and even laughter in corridors. Even joy isn’t welcome where it’s probably most needed.
Birds Were Used To Determine Future Spouses
It may sound quite odd, but birds have one heck of a presence on Valentine’s Day. During the times of Ancient Greece and Rome, a quirky Valentine’s Day tradition revolving around birds was said to determine a girl’s future beau. It is believed that, on the morning of Valentine’s Day, the first bird a girl witnessed would determine the type of man she would marry. If they first saw a blackbird, they would be thought to marry a clergyman; a robin redbreast suggested they would marry a sailor; a goldfinch represented a rich man; and a dove meant that they would marry a decent man. No girl wanted to see the dreaded woodpecker, though, as this bird meant they would not marry at all.
Valentine of Terni and Valentine of Rome Could Have Inspired Valentines Day
There is plenty of speculation how Valentine’s Day came about, but one popular theory links the deaths of two potential saints to the creation of the holiday. Valentine of Terni and Valentine of Rome were Christian martyrs that were both executed on February 14th. The two were known for their selfless acts towards Christians, though Terni is best known for restoring the sight of Judge Asterius’ daughter and attempting to convert Claudius to Christianity, an act that would be his last.
Card Sales Skyrocket Just Before Valentines Day
The stereotypical male is humored by his own bodily functions, slightly lazy, clueless about women, and a massive procrastinator. While most men want to refute those as untrue, the greeting card company, Hallmark, may have some input that proves one to be true. According to Hallmark’s research department, over 50% of the cards sold during the holiday are purchased in the six days leading up to Valentine’s Day. Though products for the holiday hits the shelves near immediately after Christmas, there are still shoppers willing to wait until the shelves are near empty before acting. It may not just be men that procrastinate, as Hallmark also revealed that 85% of all cards bought are actually done so by women.