by Ruth Griffiths
Valentine’s Day, also called Saint Valentine’s Day or the Feast of Saint Valentine, is celebrated each Feb.14. It originated as a Christian feast day honouring one or more early saints named Valentinus. It is now a commercial celebration around the world, although it is not a public holiday in any country.
According to Wikipedia, there are several stories about the various Valentines, including an account of Saint Valentine of Rome that indicated he was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry and for ministering to Christians, who were persecuted under the Roman Empire. According to legend, during his imprisonment, Saint Valentine healed the daughter of his jailer, Asterius, and before his execution, he wrote her a letter signed “Your Valentine.”
In 18th-century England, Valentine’s Day evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by giving flowers, candy and sending greeting cards.
Here’s a quiz to help you celebrate Valentine’s Day.
- What are the traditional symbols of Valentine’s Day cards and decorations?
- St. Valentine’s Day is commemorated in various Christian denominations. In what year did it cease to be a feast day in the Roman Catholic Church?
- Saint Valentine supposedly wore a purple amethyst ring, customarily worn by Christian bishops. What image was engraved on his ring?
- What is the significance of Cupid?
- Esther Howland (1828–1904) is credited with the first mass-produced valentine cards in the United States. In what year did she begin to produce and sell embossed paper lace valentines?
- A billion valentines are exchanged in the U.S. each year. Which profession receives the most valentine cards?
- According to RetailMeNot.ca, the average Canadian plans to spend $164 on Valentine’s Day. What are the most popular Valentine’s Day gifts?
- The celebration of Valentine’s Day is relatively recent in Japan, but differs from the West in that women give gifts to men. Why is that?
- Valentine’s Day symbols include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid.
- In the 1969 revision of the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints, the feast day of Saint Valentine was relegated to secular celebration.
- In mythology, Cupid is the god of desire, erotic love, attraction and affection. During the Hellenistic period, he was increasingly portrayed as a chubby boy with a bow and arrow that represent his source of power. Anyone shot by Cupid’s arrow is filled with uncontrollable desire.
- We will spend $190 on jewelry, $76 on tickets to an event or show, $61 on lingerie, $40 on flowers and $18 on candy or chocolate.
- According to the website Mastermedia, a marketing translation mistake started a unique Valentine’s Day tradition in Japan. Morozoff Ltd., a confectionary and cake company headquartered in Kobe, Japan, marketed a Valentine’s Day advertisement in 1936 that featured people giving each other chocolate on Valentine’s Day. In translating the advertisement, the company portrayed women giving chocolate and gifts to men, instead of men giving the items to women. Today it is considered customary for women to give chocolate to every male friend or co-worker.