The weird and wonderful world of Valentine’s day

While you are scratching your head wondering what you will do to make it a special Valentine’s day for the one you love, we’ve been doing a little searching around for interesting facts and myths about That Day!

First the history

Originally this was thought to be a day set aside in around the first Century AD to honour a Christian martyr called St Valentine, the only problem is there were at least two of them!

They were Valentine of Terni, martyred in the reign of Emperor Aurelian in c. AD 197 and Valentine of Rome, martyred under Emperor Claudius in c.AD 289. Both were later said to have died on February 14 and in c. AD 496 the then Pope Gelasius, declared 14 February to be St Valentine’s Day, a Christian feast day.

It was only in the 1400s that the day came to have the more romantic meaning we now associate with it.

A few Valentine customs around the world

Japan – it’s all about women spoiling men – with chocolate.

Wales –there was a tradition of giving intricately carved wooden love spoons tied together

Denmark & Norway: have their own quirky little tradition. It’s called “Gaekkebrev” and involves men sending funny little poems or rhyming love notes to women anonymously on Valentine’s Day, giving them only a clue as to the number of letters in the sender’s name, represented by a dot for each letter. The recipient must then guess who sent her the card. If she guesses correctly she wins an Easter Egg at Easter.

Slovenia: The 14th of February in Slovenia, marks the first working in the fields. St Valentine, or ‘Zdravko’ as he’s better known there, is one of their patron saints of spring.

England: In the 1700’s, on the eve of Valentine’s day single women in England used to pin a bay leaf at each corner of their pillow and one in the centre, believing they would dream of their future husbands.

It cost how much?

Among the most expensive Valentine gifts ever created was a pair of stilettos with solid gold heels encrusted with over 2,000 diamonds for just £140,000 created by British designer Christopher Michael Shellis.

We don’t know if they were ever sold but celebs really know how to splash the Valentine cash. Check these out:

2006: Top of the list is David Beckham’s gift for his Victoria – an $8 million Bulgari necklace

2009: Jay-Z gave a platinum-covered mobile phone to his wife Beyoncé that was reportedly worth around us$ 24,000.

2013: Kanye West presented Kim Kardashian with a $73,000 Panthere De Cartier Cuff and in 2014 he gave Kardashian 1,000 roses on Valentine’s Day.

Odds and ends

Men spend almost twice as much on Valentine’s Day as women do.

More than nine million pet owners apparently buy gifts for their pets on Valentine’s Day

Teachers receive the most valentines, followed by kids, mothers, wives and sweethearts

The oldest surviving Valentine dates from 1415. It is a poem written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt.

On Valentine’s Day 2000, the producer of Viagra, Pfizer, funded an impotence awareness day in Britain.

For us mere mortals perhaps a great treat would be transport in comfort to a nice restaurant – or possibly to the airport for a weekend in Paris.