Menu
News

Weird facts about Valentine’s Day

Can chocolate cure a broken heart? Picture: The Cairns Post
Can chocolate cure a broken heart? Picture: The Cairns Post

LOVE is never as simple or as straight forward as it seems and nor is Valentine's Day.

The day of lovers' is a date steeped in blood and misery and one championed by the world's most famous writer into the celebration of romance it has become.

BLOODY ORIGINS OF LOVE

Historians are divided over the exact origins of Valentine's Day but either way its bloody and brutal early days are a far cry from the romance it is associated with now.

Much love, and credit, is given to the Romans for the birth of Valentine's Day. According to one theory, the Romans celebrated the Feast of Lupercalia from February 13 to 15. During this festival animals were sacrificed and women were then whipped with the hides of the slain animals in the belief it would make them fertile.

Saint Valentine baptises St Lucilla before his execution, in a 16th century painting by Jacopo da Ponte. Picture: Supplied
Saint Valentine baptises St Lucilla before his execution, in a 16th century painting by Jacopo da Ponte. Picture: Supplied

Yale historian Noel Lenski told NPR the Roman romantics "were drunk and naked" during the outrageous celebration.

Another theory says our worldwide day of love is owed to martyred Saint Valentine or Valentinus. St Valentine defied Roman Emperor Cladius II's decree that no soldiers were permitted to marry because single men made better fighters. When Saint Valentine's was discovered marrying young lovers in secret, Cladius ordered that he be executed. The order was said to be have been carried through on February 14.

The birds’ mating season is said to begin on February 14 in Europe. Picture: Zsolt Kudich/National Geographic
The birds’ mating season is said to begin on February 14 in Europe. Picture: Zsolt Kudich/National Geographic

BIRDS' MATING SEASON BEGINS

During the Middle Ages in both England and France it was commonly accepted that February 14 was the beginning of the bird's mating season and as a result the date became associated with one of love and coupling.

LOVE LASTS THROUGH JAIL WALLS

The oldest known Valentine in existence was written by Charles, The Duke of New Orleans way back in 1415. The Duke is credited with coined the phrase 'My Valentine'.

The revered medieval poet penned a love letter, titled Farewell to Love, to his wife when he was imprisoned in the Tower of London after being captured at the Battle of Agincourt.

The world’s oldest know Valentine was written within the imposing walls of The Tower of London. Picture: iStock
The world’s oldest know Valentine was written within the imposing walls of The Tower of London. Picture: iStock

The poem was written in French and English and is part of now part of a collection at the British Library in London.

It ends with the words:

I am already sick of love

My very gentle Valentine

SAUCER AND SHAKESPEARE CHAMPION LOVE

Literature giants Geoffrey Chaucer and William Shakespeare contributed significantly to the growth in popularity of February 14 as a day for the lovers during the Middle Ages.

The famous pair romanticised the day in much of their work and as a result it gained in tremendous popularity in Britain and through the rest of Europe.

The widespread use of handmade paper cards became a part of popular culture during this time on the back of their writings.

The first recorded mention of Valentine's Day association with romance is said to be in Chaucer's Parliament of Foules (1382) in which he wrote: "For this was on St. Valentine's Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate."

The poem was written as a tribute to the marriage of England's King Richard II to Anne of Bohemia. It could also have been a reference to the start of the bird's mating season.

Two of Shakespeare's most popular quotes referred to on Valentine's Day are: "They do not love that do not show their love" and "the course of true love never did run smooth".

The famous 'Roses are red' verse is traced by to Edmund Spenser's The Faerie Queene.

Geoffrey Chaucer wrote the first recorded association of Valentine’s Day with romance. Picture: News Corp
Geoffrey Chaucer wrote the first recorded association of Valentine’s Day with romance. Picture: News Corp

 

CHOCOLATE 'CAN CURE A BROKEN HEART'

In the 1800s doctors began to prescribe chocolate for matters of love. In some quarters it was believed a dose of chocolate would cure a broken heart.

More recently doctors have confirmed chocolate can lift mood and that it has antidepressant qualities.

 

COURT OF LOVE

A Court of Love was existed during Medieval Times in France to decide on questions of love. It was the Court's role to rule on queries regarding love, to settle disputes between couples, to pass sentences on a lover who was found to be in the wrong.

It was established in 15th Century Parios by Princess Isabel of Bavaria and was said to be exceptionally busy on and around St Valentine's Day.

 

SINGLES AWARNESS DAY

Singles Awareness Day or S.A.D. has been coined as a mainly humorous anti-Valentines Day for singles or even for those who oppose February 14 as a 'Hallmark Holiday".

Single Awarness (or Appreciation) Day is celebrated on February 15 and according to the Singles Awareness website it is a day for people to "proudly stand up and show that it is OK to be single".

Topics:  gifts love valentine's day


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Officer assaulted in SNP

Police have been assaulted in the Airlie Beach SNP.

Low blow, police officer kicked in groin.

Man faces DV charge

An 18-year-old man has breached a DV order.

Teen breaches court contact order.

Magistrate rebukes 4 in thongs

'DISRESPECTFUL': Four defendants received a dressing down from the magistrate after turning up to court in thongs this week.

Not dressed to impress.

Local Partners