Humorous valentines of the 19th century were called Vinegar Valentines or Penny Dreadfuls. Vinegar Valentines were introduced in 1858 by John McLaughin, a Scotsman with a New York City Publishing Business. Penny Dreadfuls with comic designs drawn in 1870 by American cartoonists Charles Howard.
In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names from a bowl to see who their valentines would be. They would wear these names on their sleeves for one week. To wear your heart on your sleeve now means that it is easy for other people to know how you are feeling.
In the United States, 64 percent of men do not make plans in advance for a romantic Valentine's Day with their sweethearts.
In Victorian times it was considered bad luck to sign a Valentine's Day card.
Some people used to believe that if a woman saw a robin flying overhead on Valentine's Day, it meant she would marry a sailor. If she saw a sparrow, she would marry a poor man and be very happy. If she saw a goldfinch, she would marry a millionaire.
Teachers will receive the most Valentine's Day cards, followed by children, mothers, wives, and then, sweethearts. Children ages 6 to 10 exchange more than 650 million Valentine's cards with teachers, classmates, and family members.
The 17th century a hopeful maiden ate a hard-boiled egg and pinned five bay leaves to her pillow before going to sleep on Valentine's eve. It was believed this would make her dream of her future husband.
The Italian city of Verona, where Shakespeare's lovers Romeo and Juliet lived, receives about 1,000 letters addressed to Juliet every Valentine's Day.
The oldest known Valentine was sent in 1415 A.D. by the Duke of Orleans to his French wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. It is still on display in a museum in England.
The oldest surviving love poem is written in a clay tablet from the times of the Sumerians, inventors of writing, around 3500 B.C. It was unromantically named Istanbul #2461 by the archeologists who unearthed it.
Wearing a wedding ring on the fourth finger of the left hand dates back to ancient Egypt, where it was believed that the vein of love ran from this finger directly to the heart.
15% of U.S. women send themselves flowers on Valentine's Day.
73% of people who buy flowers for Valentine's Day are men, while only 27 percent are women.
About 1 billion Valentine's Day cards are exchanged each year. That's the largest seasonal card-sending occasion of the year, next to Christmas.
About 3% of pet owners will give Valentine's Day gifts to their pets.