Valentine’s Day has a long history. Despite this most people believe “facts” about the holiday that are absolutely false. These are only 10 such myths.
10Invented by Hallmark
Hallmark did not invent the modern Valentine’s Day celebration or any of its traditions. Giving cards was a tradition that had existed in England since at least the 1800s and was later popularized in the Colonies. Esther Howland was the first to mass-produce Valentine’s cards in America.
9Who is St. Valentine?
The Christian basis of the holiday is the celebration of a martyred saint. But here’s the thing: we don’t know which saint. There are a few different saints named Valentine that could potentially fit the bill. There aren’t enough historical records to make the determination of who is who.
8Heart on Your Sleeve
There are loads of explanations that try to make sense of the phrase “to wear your heart on your sleeve.” However, as entertaining or even plausible as some of these are, there’s no evidence to support them and all we have is conjecture. But we do know that the earliest appearance of the phrase in writing appears in Shakespeare’s Othello.
7It’s a Christian Holiday
Though now it has largely been removed from religion, previously the holiday was a Christian holiday, as mentioned above. But that’s not how it was originally. It began as a pagan holiday celebrated by the Romans and dedicated to fertility and life. When it was eventually co-opted by Christianity it was changed completely.
6It’s the Day to Propose
Pop-culture brow-beats us with the idea that Valentine’s Day is the most romantic day to pop the question or get married. However, polls consistently show that (according to women) that simply isn’t true. Common reasons for this include that it’s too expected, too many people do the same, or that if you get married you share your anniversary with countless others.
5Charles, Duke of Orleans
This is another alleged origin of Valentine’s Day traditions. Here, Charles sent his wife poems (or cards depending on who’s telling the story) during his twenty-four-year imprisonment starting in 1415. While he certainly did do this (with much of his poetry surviving to this day), there’s no confirmation that this was the inspiration to send cards or poems on Valentine’s Day.
4Suicide Rates Spike
An oldie but a goodie: suicide rates are said to see a sharp increase around Valentine’s Day. However, there isn’t much to back this up in terms of actual studies or statistics.
3Doesn’t Really Exist (Sort of)
Let’s go back to the mystery of St. Valentine. We’ve covered that there’s more than one and we aren’t sure which one the big day is named after. But ultimately that’s okay because the Catholic church wiped the St. Valentine’s Day feast from the Roman calendar in 1969, further distancing the day from any religious connotation.
Since it’s a day for romance you’d expect that a lot of pregnancies would result from Valentine’s Day “celebrations,” but according to these stats, there’s no factual basis for this belief. Any spikes in pregnancies following the holiday are slight at best.
1The Most Popular Time For Wedding
We’ve already covered why most women don’t want to be married on Feb. 14th, but there are still those who insist that Valentine’s Day specifically and February, in general, are the most popular times to get married in the United States. But neither are true and in fact, the month of June is the most popular month to tie the knot.