With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, with everything we’ve become accustomed to – shop displays of roses, chocolates, and of course, Valentine’s Day cards.
But where did these traditions come from? Who was Saint Valentine, and why do we celebrate Saint Valentine’s Day at all? What do other people do for Valentine’s Day? Whether you have plans with a loved one, with friends, or even if you aren’t a fan of Valentine’s Day, there are plenty of interesting facts surrounding it. Read on for 55 fascinating pieces of trivia on the history of Valentine’s Day, the modern Valentine’s Day, and the traditions surrounding it.
55 Valentine’s Day Trivia Questions with Answers
For how long have we had a St Valentine’s day holiday?
The 14th February was first declared as Saint Valentine’s Day by the Pope in the year 496.
What’s so special about the 14th of February?
The church chose it to commemorate one – or possibly two, or even three – martyred priests.
Which animal is often depicted on Valentine’s Day cards in Germany?
A pig! They are thought to bring good luck.
Who sent the first-ever valentine?
The first recorded valentine was sent by Charles, the Duke of Orleans, in 1415. He wrote it from the Tower of London where he was imprisoned.
Why are red roses linked to Valentine’s Day?
Red roses have long been associated with love and passion, and are also the favorite flowers of Venus, goddess of love and beauty!
While Valentine’s Day is mostly a Western tradition, it has been spreading further afield – including to Ghana! What else happens in Ghana on the 14th of February?
The 14th of February is also National Chocolate Day in Ghana. As chocolates are a popular Valentine’s gift, this sounds like a perfect match!
What are the origins of the word “Valentine”?
“Valentine” comes from the Latin “Valentinus”, which means “strength.”
Is Valentine’s Day celebrated everywhere?
No! While in recent years it has become more of a global phenomenon, the festival has traditionally been observed in English speaking and some European countries. Many other countries have a “day of love” or “friend’s day” celebration of some sort, but on a different date and with a different name.
Who wrote the first love poem?
The world’s oldest known love poem is called The Love Song for Shu-Sin and was composed in ancient Mesopotamia, around 2000 BC.
Who is Cupid?
Cupid was a Roman god, said to be the child of Venus and Mars. He was the god of desire and affection.
Who are some of the newest recipients of Valentine’s Day gifts?
Our pets! The pet industry is growing fast, and with it, the pet valentine’s industry. Americans are estimated to have spent over $750 million on Valentine’s gifts for pets.
When did diamonds become popular as engagement rings?
In 1477, the Archduke Maximillian gave Mary of Burgundy a diamond engagement ring. This started a trend among royalty and the very wealthy.
Which other stones are popular as symbols of love?
Diamonds aren’t the only stones associated with love! The ruby is also known as ‘the stone of love’, and the Goddess of love, Venus, was honoured with the emerald. There are several more stones associated with love too!
What happens on Valentine’s Day in Bulgaria?
In Bulgaria, Valentine’s Day is also the Day of Winemakers! How better to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with a glass or two of wine?
Which country celebrates the 14th of EVERY month?
South Korea. While it isn’t always a day of love, there is a day of something on the 14th of each month.
How many Valentine’s cards get sent each year?
Well, we don’t know exactly – but more than 1 billion! That’s a lot of cards!
When did we start giving chocolates for Valentine’s Day?
Chocolates were first marketed as a Valentine’s Day gift by Henry Cadbury in 1861.
What do they send for Valentine’s Day in Denmark?
Although Valentine’s Day is a relatively recent addition to the Danish holiday calendar, they already have their own traditions! Snowdrop flowers given on Valentine’s Day, as well as the usual cards and chocolates.
How many places are named after Saint Valentine?
There are 12 places in the world called Valentine! 10 in the USA, and 2 in France.
What makes Japan’s Valentine’s Day slightly different?
In Japan, it is only women who give gifts on Valentine’s Day.
Is Valentine’s Day a good day to get married?
It is if you live in the Philippines! The 14th of February is the most popular marriage date in the Philippines, with mass weddings taking place on the day.
In the TV show Friends, what does Chandler watch by mistake, thinking it’s something for Valentine’s Day?
A birthing video. He definitely thought it was something else. Ooops.
Which state has its birthday on February the 14th?
Arizona! In 2022, Arizona turns 110.
In which of his plays does Shakespeare mention Valentine’s Day?
Hamlet. This is the only mention he makes of Valentine’s day, despite being known for many quotes about love, and using it as a central theme in his plays.
Where is the “Rose Valley”?
In Bulgaria, there is a place called the Rose Valley. Roses are cultivated to produce Rose oil, but it looks beautiful too!
What does it mean to feed your lover eggs on Valentine’s day?
According to an old French custom, women could communicate through food on Valentine’s Day. A dish containing eggs meant “no”, and one containing apples and pears meant “yes”!
Which fruit symbolizes love?
Apples are widely used to symbolize love.
Garlic was once used as an aphrodisiac! Where?
Garlic was used by ancient Chinese emperors as an aphrodisiac – it is also a symbol of luck and fertility!
When did Hallmark begin producing Valentine’s Day cards?
In 1916. This helped spread the popularity of the Valentine’s Day holiday.
Is Valentine’s Day an official holiday?
While many people celebrate Valentine’s Day across the globe, sadly no country has it marked as a public holiday!
Why is it a tradition in Japan for only women to give gifts on Valentine’s Day?
Apparently, it all began with an error in translation! But it has become a much-loved tradition.
Apart from actual apples signifying love, the name “love apple” was given to something else. What is the “love apple”?
The tomato! It used to be believed that the tomato was an aphrodisiac.
Which country produces the most rose oil?
Bulgaria. Amazingly, Bulgaria produces an average of 1.6 tonnes of rose oil per year. This is then used in perfume making throughout the world.
What is the connection between bay leaves and Valentine’s Day?
In the 1700s, women in England slept with bay leaves under their pillows the night before Valentine’s Day. This was supposed to make them dream of their future husbands.
What happens on Valentine’s Day in Croatia?
Croatian folklore tells that on Valentine’s Day, the birds get married.
What is “Saint Valentine’s Malady”?
Epilepsy. Saint Valentine is also the patron saint of epilepsy.
“Roses are red, violets are blue…” Where does this rhyme come from?
This verse is printed in Gammer Gurton’s Garland, a collection of English nursery rhymes published in 1784.
Where is Valentine’s Day banned?
Pakistan and Indonesia both have banned Valentine’s Day, and several other countries have banned public expressions of it, or sales of Valentine’s Day goods.
Which city receives a large number of Valentine’s Day cards each year addressed to a fictional character?
Verona, in Italy. Each year the city received cards addressed to Juliet, from Romeo and Juliet!
In “Be my Valentine, Charlie Brown”, who of the peanuts characters received no Valentine’s cards?
Sadly, Charlie Brown himself receives no Valentine’s cards.
Owls are said to be a bad omen on Valentine’s Day. What does it mean if a girl sees an owl on the 14th February?
According to superstition, seeing an owl on Valentine’s Day means that you will never get married!
What is the first mention of Valentine’s Day in literature?
Geoffrey Chaucer mentioned Valentine’s Day in a poem in the 1380s.
Do diamonds have a special meaning for Valentine’s Day?
Diamonds do not have a meaning for Valentine’s Day itself, but they are said to be a symbol of true love – so it’s easy to see why they’ve become so popular!
What do Cupid’s Arrows do?
Cupid carries two different types of arrows. A gold-tipped arrow fills the target with desire, whereas a lead-tipped arrow fills them with dread and repulsion.
What did Pope Paul VI do in 1969?
In 1969, Saint Valentine’s Day was removed from the calendar of major holidays, as we don’t know enough about its origins.
Who manufactured the first Valentine’s Day cards?
Esther Howland, “The Mother of the American Valentine”, started to mass produce Valentine’s Day cards in the 1870s.
When was Saint Valentine’s Day added to the Royal Charter?
In 1537, by King Henry VIII of England.
Who started the tradition of sending flowers for Valentine’s Day?
King Charles II of Sweden brought the idea back to Europe from Persia in the 1700s.
Where does Valentine’s “Day” last for a week?
In Argentina, they celebrate the 14th of February, but they also reserve a whole week for “sweetness week”!
Which world record was set in Mexico on 14th February 2010?
The world record for the largest group kiss! 39, 897 people kissed.
We use the letter “x” as a kiss. What did it mean, historically?
In the Middle Ages, the illiterate would sign with the mark of an x. They would then kiss the mark, which could be how it came to mean a kiss!
Which Valentine’s Day find has saved millions of lives?
Penicillin was first introduced on February 14th 1929.
What does it mean to see doves on Valentine’s Day?
According to superstition, seeing doves on Valentine’s Day means that you will have a happy and successful marriage.
How many roses are sent for Valentine’s Day?
Approximately 50 million roses each year.
Before it was associated with romantic love, how was Saint Valentine’s Day celebrated?
Originally, Saint Valentine’s Day was simply a Christian “feast day.” This does not mean feast in the modern sense, as in, food, but was a religious occasion dedicated to a saint.