- An estimated 1 billion Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually, making it the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas.
- The Catholic Church recognizes at least 3 different saints with the name Valentine.
- Valentine’s Day originated as a Pagan Festival. Many believe that this day originated with the pagan celebration of Lupercalia, a fertility festival dedicated to the Roman god of agriculture, Faunus.
- At the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius declared February 14 to be St. Valentine’s Day to honor the Valentine that died or was buried in the middle of February A.D. 270. However, it wasn’t until the Middle Ages it became associated with love because of the commonly held belief in France and England that February 14 marked the state of the bird-mating season. And this just added to their notion of romance.
- Valentine’s greetings have been popular since the Middle Ages, though the paper ones didn’t gain popularity until after 1400.
Valentine’s is really only celebrated in the US, Canada, Mexico, the UK, France and Australia. The rest of the world is slowly following suit. People in the US started exchanging handmade cards in the 1700s. In the 1840s, the first mass-produced cards were made by Esther A. Howland, who became known as the “Mother of the Valentine.”
As a romance writer, I tend to look at all the nuances of the day. Even with all these facts, it is certainly a holiday filled with love. If you’d like to read even more, here’s a couple of websites to help you on your search.