40 Facts About the Holiday of Love
40 Facts About the Holiday of Love

40 Facts About the Holiday of Love

D.G. Hewitt - September 2, 2019

40 Facts About the Holiday of Love
The creepy figure of Jack Valentine remains a popular tradition in eastern England. Pinterest.

6. In Norfolk, England, ‘Jack Valentine‘ has been loved – and feared – by children for centuries

In the English county of Norfolk, people in the Middle Ages invented the tradition of ‘Jack’ Valentine. According to the local legend, Jack would stalk through villages in the east of the country after dark, though only on the eve of Valentine’s Day. He would leave candies and other sweet treats on the doorsteps of not just women but children as well. And the tradition continues to this day. Curiously, though Jack Valentine brings candies and is said to be completely harmless, children are traditionally supposed to be scared of him.

40 Facts About the Holiday of Love
The State of Arizona celebrates joining the U.S.A. in 1912. Wikimedia Commons.

5. The states of Arizona and Oregon both joined the United States on Valentine’s Day

The people of Arizona and Oregon don’t just celebrated love and romance on 14 February. Some extra-patriotic citizens also celebrate their states’ admission to the United States. Arizona became the 48th member of the United States when it joined on Valentine’s Day in 1912. This meant it was the last of the contiguous states to join, with only Alaska and Hawaii coming after. Oregon joined the union way back on Valentine’s Day of 1859.

40 Facts About the Holiday of Love
Police recreate the infamous Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago. Wikipedia.

4. The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre is still an unsolved crime – was Capone or the cops behind it?

The Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre rocked Chicago back in 1929. The massacre was the bloodiest part of a long-standing feud between the Irish North Siders organised crime racket and their Italian South Side rivals, led by the legendary gangster Al Capone. On that infamous morning, a group of assailants ambushed 7 members and associates of the North Side Gang at a Lincoln Park garage. The victims were made to line up against a wall and then mercilessly executed. The perpetrators were never caught. Inevitably, Capone himself was widely blamed for the massacre, However, some have said that the killings were carried out by members of the Chicago Police Department seeking revenge for the murder of the son of a fellow officer.

40 Facts About the Holiday of Love
In Japan, only women give their lovers gifts on Valentine’s Day. Pinterest.

3. A translating error back in the 1930s means that only women give Valentine’s Day gifts in Japan

When Valentine’s Day was introduced to Japan in 1936 – by a chocolate company, of course – it was embraced as a day for women to treat their loved ones. The meaning of the day was mis-translated and, from then on, it was only loved-up females buying gifts. That tradition continues to this day. To make up for this, a new tradition was also invented: Exactly one month after Valentine’s Day, Japanese men would return the favor, buying the special ladies in their lives chocolates or other romantic gifts.

40 Facts About the Holiday of Love
Sailor’s Valentines were picked up by seamen in the Caribbean in the 19th century. Pinterest.

2. Lovelorn seamen would collect Sailor’s Valentines in the Caribbean in the 19th century – and now they sell for big money

Today, collectors will pay good money for ‘Sailor’s Valentines’. These unique gifts were hugely popular from around 1830 to 1890 but quickly fell out of favor. Adorned with shells and intricately decorates, the small wooden were traditionally picked up for their sweethearts when they went ashore in the Caribbean. Barbados was a particularly popular place for picking up such a trinket. Traditionally, the local women made them from shells imported from Indonesia, selling them only love-struck American sailors for a healthy profit.

40 Facts About the Holiday of Love
Saint Valentine lost his official Feast Day in the 1960s, but remains as popular as ever. Wikimedia Commons.

1. The Church took Saint Valentine’s Day off its official back in 1969 due to a lack of evidence about his life

In 1969, the Catholic Church removed the Saints Days of 100 saints from its official calendar. In some cases, they removed the days dedicated to men and women whose behavior was, in retrospect, far from saintly. At the same time, the Church also took away the days dedicated to saints whose stories remain unclear. Among those who got the axe from the official Catholic calendar was Saint Valentine. According to the Church authorities, there isn’t enough evidence about his life or work to grant him an official Feast Day.


Where did we find this stuff? Here are our sources:

“The Origins of Wearing Your Heart on Your Sleeve.” Smithsonian Magazine, February 2013.

“Cockles, Motto Lozenges and Sweethearts.” The Library of Congress, February 2011.

“The Dark Origins of Valentine’s Day.” NPR.org, February 2011.

“The Gory Origins of Valentine’s Day.” Smithsonian Magazine, February 2018.

“A brief history of Valentine’s Day cards.” BBC History Magazine.

“What is Valentine’s Day and how did it start?” BBC Newsround.

“Valentine’s Day Meaning: The Real Story of Saint Valentine.” Information Nigeria.

“The Mysterious History of the Real Saint Behind Valentine’s Day.” Time.com.

St. Valentine, the Real Story.” CBN.

“The history behind Valentine’s Day.” Business Insider, February 2018.

“Valentine’s Day.” National Geographic Kids.