Valentines Day

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Often depicted with a bow and arrow, Cupid shoots arrows to stoke the flames of lust and romantic desire in his targets. Though Cupid has become a spirited, childlike figure associated with love and Valentine's Day, this character is actually a somewhat mischievous figure from Greek and Roman mythology. This figure's Greek mythological name is Eros, and he is known as Cupid in the Roman tradition.

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  • When was Valentine's Day first celebrated?

    Q: When was Valentine's Day first celebrated?

    A: The exact origins of Valentine's Day are difficult to determine, but there are indications that the holiday may have roots in both Roman and Norman tradition dating back to ancient Roman history and about 300 C.E. Between February 13 and 15 in ancient Rome, a holiday known as Lupercalia was celebrated. This was a rather brutal and violent festival during which men would slaughter animals, consume them and then use the animals' hides to whip women as part of a fertility ritual. The festival also included a matchmaking process in which men and women would be paired up based on a random lottery.
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  • How many people get engaged on Valentine's Day?

    Q: How many people get engaged on Valentine's Day?

    A: The exact number of people who get engaged on Valentine's Day varies from year to year. Six million people planned to propose or expected a proposal on Valentine's Day 2013, according to a consumer survey from American Express. This was a significant increase from the number of planned or anticipated proposals in 2012, which was estimated to be 4 million.
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  • What is the flavor of candy conversation hearts?

    Q: What is the flavor of candy conversation hearts?

    A: Candy conversation hearts that are made by the candy manufacturer NECCO underwent a major flavor revision in the early 21st century, converting from more old-fashioned fruit and spice flavors to fruit flavors such as strawberry, lemon and blue raspberry. The original candies had flavors such as mint, banana and grape.
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  • How many Valentine's Day cards are sent out each year?

    Q: How many Valentine's Day cards are sent out each year?

    A: The Greeting Card Association calculates that 145 million Valentine's Day cards are sent out every year in the United States. This figure does not include classroom valentines.
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  • What did the first candy conversation hearts say?

    Q: What did the first candy conversation hearts say?

    A: The colorful candy hearts known as conversation hearts are marketed under the brand name of Sweethearts, which were first introduced in 1902 with sayings such as "Be Mine," "True Love," "Kiss Me" and "Be Good." These hearts were preceded by round wafer candies with wedding slogans imprinted on them.
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  • What are Japanese "obligation chocolates"?

    Q: What are Japanese "obligation chocolates"?

    A: In Japan, February 14 is a day in which women give chocolates to the men in their lives; the chocolates that women give to the people they aren't romantically involved with, such as relatives and co-workers, are known as "giri-choko," which translates to English as "obligation chocolates." The idea behind this terminology is that the woman is giving these chocolates out of a sense of obligation rather than love. When Japanese women give chocolates to their romantic partners or interests, these candies are known as "honmei-choko," or "true love chocolates."
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  • How much does the average person spend on Valentine's Day?

    Q: How much does the average person spend on Valentine's Day?

    A: As of 2014, Americans spend an average of $135.10 on Valentine's Day gifts, according to Business Insider. Men tend to spend, on average, more than twice as much as women for this romantic commercial holiday. As a whole, consumers in the United States spend upwards of 17 billion dollars on traditional items for this holiday, which include flowers, chocolate and other candies, jewelry, greeting cards and clothing.
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  • What is Galentine's Day?

    Q: What is Galentine's Day?

    A: The term 'Galentine's Day' refers to a way of celebrating Valentine's Day in which a woman shows her appreciation for the non-romantic relationships she has with the women in her life, including both friends and family. This celebration can be an alternative to the traditional romantic rituals and commercial practices of Valentine's Day, or it can simply be a supplemental part of the holiday for those who also want to celebrate the holiday in a romantic way.
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  • Who wrote the first valentine?

    Q: Who wrote the first valentine?

    A: The first valentine was reportedly written by St. Valentine himself, who had been jailed for illegally conducting marriages in second-century Rome, according to the BBC. The story holds that this Bishop Valentine fell in love with the jailer's daughter while in prison, and he wrote her a letter on the day of his execution.
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  • Did Hallmark create modern Valentine's Day?

    Q: Did Hallmark create modern Valentine's Day?

    A: There is little evidence to support the idea that the Hallmark greeting card company is solely responsible for creating the modern Valentine's Day celebration, though the company did begin mass-producing cards for this holiday in 1913. Factory-produced cards were a response to the growing public interest in spending money on this holiday, as the trend of handmade greetings gave way to manufactured cards.
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  • Why is Cupid a symbol of Valentine's Day?

    Q: Why is Cupid a symbol of Valentine's Day?

    A: Cupid is part of the Valentine's Day iconography thanks to his historical association with classical Greek and Roman love stories. The Roman love god Cupid, known as Eros in the ancient Greek religious tradition, was the son of the Roman goddess of love, Venus, or Aphrodite in Greek stories.
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  • What are vinegar valentines?

    Q: What are vinegar valentines?

    A: As their name indicates, vinegar valentines are holiday cards for Valentine's Day that are much more sour than sweet. These cards commonly feature an unflattering caricature accompanied by mean and insulting verse intended to hurt and shame the recipient rather than show affection.
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  • What Valentine's Day tradition was banned in France?

    Q: What Valentine's Day tradition was banned in France?

    A: A French Valentine's Day ritual known as a 'loterie d'amour,' or a love lottery, was banned when the practice got so out of control that some participants resorted to building bonfires and verbally insulting others participating in the event. The event involved single people entering two houses that stood opposite from each other; those who wanted to be paired with a female partner would enter one house, and those who wanted to be paired with a male partner would enter the opposite building.
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  • What is the most popular Valentine's Day candy?

    Q: What is the most popular Valentine's Day candy?

    A: Chocolate products make up about 75 percent of Valentine's Day candy sales, making this by far the most popular candy for the holiday. This dark, sweet confection has been associated with love and romance for thousands of years, starting with the Aztecs in the 15th century.
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  • Why do people send roses on Valentine's Day?

    Q: Why do people send roses on Valentine's Day?

    A: Roses are the Valentine's Day flower of choice for a variety of reasons, from the perceived symbolism of the flower to the widespread availability and the personal preference of the recipient. Hundreds of millions of roses are grown for Valentine's Day each year, meaning there is a large supply of the flowers available.
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  • Where in the world is Valentine's Day celebrated?

    Q: Where in the world is Valentine's Day celebrated?

    A: Valentine's Day is celebrated in many countries around the world. Although it was initially a mostly Western holiday celebrated in Europe and former British colonies such as the United States, this holiday has become internationally popular, particularly in Asia. According to a 2008 article from the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Filipinos spend the most on Valentine's Day out of all their Asian continental neighbors, including citizens of Singapore, Korea and China. Other parts of the world, including Middle Eastern countries such as Israel and Iran, and Latin American countries with large Catholic populations, also observe this holiday, which has both religious and commercial facets.
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  • What are some ideas for homemade Valentine's Day gifts?

    Q: What are some ideas for homemade Valentine's Day gifts?

    A: Homemade Valentine's Day gift ideas include jewelry-embellished vases, handmade memory boards, photo transfer artwork, pomegranate syrup, Valentine's Day coupons and candy-heart frames. Parents with children can put together do-it-yourself Valentine's Day card kits, which give children a fun craft to do.
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  • How many flowers are sold on Valentine's Day?

    Q: How many flowers are sold on Valentine's Day?

    A: Each year in the United States, about 110 million roses are sold on February 14th, and international rose growers grow about 200 million flowers in preparation for the event. Valentine's Day is a major commercial holiday, and it is one of the biggest days of the year for the floral industry.
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  • Why do we call couples "lovebirds"?

    Q: Why do we call couples "lovebirds"?

    A: The first known connection between love and birds appears in the British medieval poet Geoffrey Chaucer's work "Parliament of Fowls," in which the poet writes of birds choosing mates on Valentine's Day. Another 14th century poet, Otto de Granson, began the practice of writing Valentine's Day poetry but did not mention birds until one of his last poems.
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  • What does a Valentine's Day dinner cost at the Eiffel Tower?

    Q: What does a Valentine's Day dinner cost at the Eiffel Tower?

    A: Dinner on February 14, 2015 at the 58 Tour Eiffel restaurant in the Eiffel Tower costs 120 euros per seat, or 150 euros for a window seat. This is about $144 and $180 USD, respectively, according to January 2015 exchange rates. Prices may differ at the Parisian landmark's other dining areas.
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  • Why does Cupid shoot arrows?

    Q: Why does Cupid shoot arrows?

    A: Often depicted with a bow and arrow, Cupid shoots arrows to stoke the flames of lust and romantic desire in his targets. Though Cupid has become a spirited, childlike figure associated with love and Valentine's Day, this character is actually a somewhat mischievous figure from Greek and Roman mythology. This figure's Greek mythological name is Eros, and he is known as Cupid in the Roman tradition.
    See Full Answer
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