1. Valentine’s Day is thought to originate from the Roman festival Lupercalia celebrated on the 15th February, a celebration of fertility where men stripped naked and whipped young maidens with animal hides (apparently!).
2. St. Valentine was a Christian saint who married people in secret after it was banned by the Roman Emperor Claudius II who forbid soldiers to marry as he thought it would make his army stronger. St. Valentine was supposedly executed in AD 270 on February 14th, hence the celebration of love on this day.
3. The first Valentine’s Day card has been attributed to Charles, Duke of Orleans (1395-1465) who was captured in the Battle of Agincourt. He wrote romantic sonnets and poems to his second wife Bonne d’Armagnac from the Tower of London.
4. Japan started celebrating Valentine’s Day in the 50’s when the idea came over from the UK. In Japan Valentine’s Day is all about spoiling the man, so women lavish the men in their lives with gifts, particularly chocolates!
5. In Wales the love spoon is the traditional symbol of Valentine’s Day (or Dwynwen’s Day as it is known in Wales), which is celebrated on the 25th January. Traditionally men would carve ornate and romantic spoons from one piece of wood and present them to their love. The first example of a love spoon dates back to 1667 and is on display in the Welsh Folk Museum in St. Fagans, Cardiff.