Valentine’s Day Lore & Trivia

by Christine on February 14th, 2011

filed under General Information

Lady Godiva

As you scarf down your chocolates this Valentine’s Day, remember where the name Godiva comes from. Lady Godiva (1040-1080) was a noblewoman who, according to legend, rode naked through the streets of Coventry, England, in order to convince her husband to recant the high taxes he imposed on his tenants.  After repeatedly asking her husband for leniency, he finally agreed to remit the tolls if she would “strip naked and ride through the streets of town.”  She did so, and the people of the village loved her so much that they shut their windows and refused to look at her as she passed….or at least, everyone in town did except for famous Peeping Tom, who was struck blind as she passed.

Godiva Chocolates selected the namesake because of her “legendary exploit that made her name synonymous with grace, nobility, and flair.” Now, if you eat that delicious Godiva Chocolate, will you look as good as Lady G riding naked?

Valentine’s Day Lore: Birds

Did you know that St. Valentine’s Day is also known as the day that birds start mating? This lore is started by Geoffrey Chaucer’s poen “The Parlement of Foules” (one of my favorite poems).  This poem is the first real reference that St. Valentine’s Day was a special day for lovers. In the poem, birds compete for each other’s love, and the conversation of the types of love are true even today. The baser, lower birds engage in carnal acts of love, while the noble and refined eagles (higher on the bird-food-chain) believe in courtly love (which is noble, chivalrous, spiritual love).  If you really want to get your English geek on, give this poem a try. After all, nobody gets really raunchy and dirty like Chaucer (except, perhaps, for Boccaccio!)

Valentine’s Day Stats

180 million

The number of V-day cards exchanged. It’s only the 2nd most popular greeting card holiday—Xmas is number one.

$14.4 billion

The total value of shipments in 2007 for firms producing chocolate and cocoa products. The first box of chocolates was introduced by Richard Cadbury in 1868. And we like more than just chocolate–80 billion candy hearts were made in 2009.

$403 million

Value of cut flowers in 2008. Men account for 73% of Valentine’s Day flower sales.

120

There are 120 single men in their 20’s for every 100 single women of the same ages

“Wearing your heart on your sleeve”

It’s more than just a phrase. 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.

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  • Amanda

    did you know the Romans from Feb. 13 to 15, would celebrate the feast of Lupercalia. The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain.

    wahoo!! can’t wait to get whipped tonight!! hahahah

  • Ann

    Interesting stuff. I enjoyed it. I hope this will post. You haven’t heard from me in a while because I’ve had such a hard time commenting on your blog, not sure why. Anyhoo..Happy Valentine’s!

  • Bonnie

    My favorite is how “wearing your heart on your sleeve” came to be. Learn something new every day.