Fun Facts About Valentine's Day
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Romance Report1 of 12
By Julie Fishman
Cupid's got his arrows aimed at billions of lovers as we celebrate Valentine's Day. And these fun facts about the world's most romantic holiday are just the fix for nursing a broken heart or distracting one that's aflutter. Whether you'll be kicking back with all your single ladies or carousing with your Prince Charming, here's to a happy holiday of love!
Partying Pagans2 of 12
Most historians link the lover's holiday to an annual celebration in Rome that occurred every Feb. 15. During the boisterous bonanza, men stripped naked and spanked young maidens with animal-skin whips in an effort to increase fertility. While tame in comparison, modern Valentine's Day festivities are observed today in Mexico, Canada, France, Australia and the U.K., in addition to here in the U.S.
Secret Lovers3 of 12
While history buffs don't unanimously agree on who the original Valentine was, the most popular suspect is a clergyman in ancient Rome. When the emperor outlawed marriage during wartime (because he believed single men made better soldiers), Bishop Valentine performed secret wedding ceremonies. It wasn't until 496 A.D., over 200 years after the bishop's death, that Pope Gelasius I officially declared Feb. 14 as Saint Valentine's Day.
Coming to America4 of 12
While Valentine greetings have been exchanged since the Middle Ages in Europe, the tradition didn't reach the United States until the 19th century. According to the Greeting Card Association, the person credited with starting it in the U.S. is Esther Howland, an American printer and artist, who published and sold the first cards on Valentine's Day in 1850.
Love Notes5 of 12
The Greeting Card Association estimates that 145 million cards will be sent worldwide in 2014 (not including children's packaged valentines for classroom exchange) and that more than half of Americans purchase at least one card, making Valentine's Day the biggest greeting card holiday in the U.S. after Christmas.
ON MSN: Send a Valentine Greeting Today!
<3 U6 of 12
According to a survey by American Express, 56 percent of Americans took a more digital approach to sending their declarations of love last year, but the trend may not continue in 2014. In fact, the Greeting Card Association expects printed valentines to far outweigh the sending of e-cards, texts or social media posts this year.
Sweet Romance7 of 12
The National Confectioners Association reports that Valentine's Day candy adds up to a sweet billion dollars in sales each year. Nearly three-quarters of that money is spent on chocolate, which has been lauded as an aphrodisiac since the 15th century. Candy hearts are a hit too, of course: Eight billion are made each year, and if you were to line up all those little candies, then the distance would reach from Italy to Arizona 20 times.
Hey, Big Spender8 of 12
While the average consumer plans to spend $134 on Valentine's Day gifts, meals and entertainment, men will dole out double what women typically pay this year, offering up about $108, compared to women's $49. The top gifts? Nearly half (48.7 percent) of people will purchase candy, a third (37 percent) will give flowers and another 19 percent will choose jewelry.
Buon Appetito9 of 12
When picking out the type of cuisine couples most prefer for their Valentine's Day dinner, one recent survey found that Italian food was the winner, earning 28 percent of the vote. French cuisine came in a close second at 27 percent with New American, Tapas and Japanese following.
Wine & Dine10 of 12
Speaking of meals—the National Restaurant Association expects one quarter of American adults to dine out on Valentine's Day, making it the second busiest holiday for restaurants next to Mother's Day. Diners are expected to fork over an average of $158.43 per couple not to mention the bound-to-be-extravagant gifts. What happened to "It's the thought that counts"?
What a Smooch11 of 12
On Valentine's Day in 2013, a Thai couple beat their own 2011 record for world's longest kiss. Their new time? Fifty-eight hours, 25 minutes and 58 seconds. (Their 2011 time was 46 hours, 24 minutes and nine seconds.) The marathon make out earned the pair two diamond rings and a $3,300 cash prize.
Let's Get It On12 of 12
Oh, great sexpectations. A recent study by the experts at Good in Bed reveal that nearly 85 percent of men and women believe that sex is an important part of Valentine's Day. Condom company Durex reports that the surge in sex on V-Day increases their sales about 25 percent in the month of February. Correlation, or causation?
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