February 14th is commonly known around the world as Valentine’s Day, especially in Europe and North America. But how much do you actually know about it?
Here are 12 random facts about a day more commonly known for chocolate, roses and a serious amount of card sales;
The first signs of Valentine's Day came from a rather unusual ancient Roman fertility festival - Lupercalia, held annually between 13-15th Feb. During the festival, it is said that two boys would run through crowds of people casually swinging strings made from goatskins. If the strings touched a girl, it was said that she would have healthy children when she grew up. The goatskins were called februa, which means to make clean and from which “February” derives.
2) St Valentine's
The church decided to add a Christian association to the big day by making a connection to a Saint named Valentine's. In third century, AD, it was believed that marriage would make soldiers too soft for battle and so a law was passed preventing the poor men from tying the knot.
St Valentine's resented this and took it upon himself to illegally marry the poor soldiers in his church. This happened for quite some time until the secret finally got out and he was imprisoned and later beheaded for his acts of kindness.
Romantic Love was connected to Valentine’s Day in the middle ages based around the start of the bird mating season which is said to be Feb 14th. This is why doves, known for their upmost loyalty to their mates, became a popular symbol of Valentine’s Day and regularly featured on valentine’s love notes and cards from then onward.
In the late 1800's, Richard Cadbury himself was the first to produce the one and only box of chocolates created specifically for Valentine’s Day.
5) The Commercials
SInce that one box of chocolates, the sales and varieties of love shaped confectionary have boomed. America alone is responsible for 36 million heart shaped boxes of chocolates being sold, 189 million stem roses and $277 million spent on cards honouring this day.
Did you know that the US also spend $751 million on gifts for their pets alone?!
Valentine's is the second largest card giving day of the year, with teachers receiving the most cards followed by children, mums & then wives!
7) Romeo & Juliet
Every Valentine's Day, the Italian city of Verona receives around 1000 letters addressed to Juliet, this is where Shakespeare's young lovers, Romeo & Juliet were said to have lived.
Wearing red on valentine’s day or any other day of the year, apparently increases your attractiveness to the opposite sex, here's a study by Rochester University explaining why that red dress is more than just a piece of clothing!
9) Wearing your heart on your sleeve
In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names to see who their Valentine would be. they would wear the name pinned to their sleeve for one week so that everyone would know their supposed true feelings - And this is where the phrase 'wearing your heart on your sleeve' comes from.
10) I Do
Valentine’s is here to stay - last year a study found that 43% of millennials chose Valentine's Day as their top choice of day to propose or be proposed to.
11) Women often buy gifts for themselves!
Who buys the most gifts for Valentine’s Day? Could it be husbands and boyfriends treating their ladies? Could it be children buying a loving gift for a parent? Or is it wives, girlfriends and female singletons buying the most? The answer is the latter! Ladies buy the most gifts, a whopping 85%, in fact. But they don’t necessarily buy it for loved ones. Many buy themselves a gift!
With so many beautiful bouquets, sweet treats and cute plush toys on display around this time of year it’s totally understandable why anyone would want to treat themselves, male or female.There are no hard and fast rules about Valentine’s Day and loving and appreciating yourself should also be celebrated on the most romantic day of the year.
12) Women love to send a tipple more than men
It has been reported that around 74% of women send alcoholic gifts whereas only 26% of men give boozy presents.
Aquila has a stunning collection of handmade pieces that make a sentimental gift for Valentine’s Day so why not browse our silver, gold and mixed metal collections now for inspiration.
So, whether it's too commercial, too mushy or just your cup of tea, it's here, it's sticking and we're embracing it!
Wishing you lots of love,
The Aquila Jewellery Team xx