14 Tid-Bits About February 14th

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

1. According to DUREX, condom sales are highest around Valentine's Day—20% to 30% higher than usual.

2. More at-home pregnancy tests are sold in March than in any other month.

3. Penicillin, a popular treatment for venereal diseases such as syphilis, was introduced to the world on February 14, 1929.

4. Teachers receive the most valentines, followed by kids, mothers, wives and sweethearts.

5. Chocolate is one of the most popular Valentine's Day gifts, with more than $1 billion of it purchased just for that one romantic day alone.

6. Hallmark produced its first valentine in 1913.

7. One billion valentines are sent each year worldwide, making it the second largest card-sending holiday of the year behind Christmas.

8. During the late 1800s, an era when racy valentine's cards very popular, Chicago's post office rejected more than 25,000 cards on the grounds that they were so indecent; they were not fit to be carried through the U.S.. mail.

9. 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 sexual companion for the year.

10. In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who their valentines would be. They would wear these names on their sleeves for one week. Today, to wear your heart on your sleeve means being transparent with your affections.

11. 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.

12. In 1381 it was Chaucer who first linked St. Valentine's Day with romance. He had composed a poem in honor of the engagement between England's Richard II and Anne of Bohemia. Chaucer associated the occasion with a feast day in his work "The Parliament of Fowls".
"For this was on St. Valentine's Day,
When every fowl cometh there to choose his mate."

13. The Catholic church has 3 st Valentine's on it's books, notably all three were martyred on the same date - February 14th. One was a priest in Rome, another a bishop in Terni, and of a third St. Valentine who met his end in Africa, little else is known. The St. Valentine associated with Valentine's Day was a priest who attracted the disfavor of Roman emperor Claudius II around 270 A.D.

According to the most popular legend, Emperor Claudius II had prohibited marriage for young men, claiming that bachelors made better soldiers. Valentine, who disagreed with this, began secretly performing marriage ceremonies but in due course was eventually caught out by the Romans and subsequently put to death.

Another version says that Valentine, imprisoned by Claudius, fell in love with the daughter of his jailer. Before he was executed, he allegedly sent her a letter signed "from your Valentine."

14. The Catholic Church struck St. Valentine’s Day from its official calendar in 1969.

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Lynn Viehl said...

Very cool facts, ma'am. I'm so old I actually remember the Catholic church doing #14.

One thing on your list sounded like a great premise for an ancient Rome historical, ala Robert Harris -- #9.

vanessa jaye said...

I thought #9 would make a great jump off point for a story, too. If you could find one other similar fact (like the heart on the sleeve thing) it would make for an interesting themed single author novella.


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