Did you know that the first valentine was sent in the 15th century? Or that chocolates used to be prescribed by doctors? We didn’t either! Learn about these Valentine’s Day fun facts and more with this list—perfect for sharing with your students!
34 Fun Facts About Valentine’s Day
The first Valentine’s Day celebration took place in France.
Although the exact first celebration is hard to pin down, the first official Valentine’s Day as a celebration of love likely occurred in Paris in the 1400s. The English and French associated mid-February with birds’ mating season, making it an appropriate time to celebrate romance.
145 million greeting cards are exchanged every year for Valentine’s Day.
About 25% of pet owners give Valentine’s Day gifts to their pets.
Valentines are not just for humans but for dogs, cats, bunnies, birds, and other pets!
The inventor of candy hearts started out by producing medicinal lozenges.
In the 1800s, Boston pharmacist Oliver Chase invented a machine to simplify the process of making lozenges. The machine was later used to make heart-shaped candy with messages printed on them. Learn more about how Sweethearts are made in this video.
8 billion conversation hearts are manufactured each year.
So many conversation hearts! Classic romantic phrases on the candies include “Be Mine,” “Cutie Pie,” and “I’m Yours.” The only year that billions of candy hearts were not produced was 2019, when the company that made Sweethearts was sold to another company, resulting in a conversation-heart–less Valentine’s Day.
Consumers buy over 58 million pounds of chocolate and candy for Valentine’s Day.
Heart-shaped boxes of chocolate make up about 10% of Valentine’s Day candy sales.
The chocolate box has been around for more than 150 years.
Around 1850, the Cadbury company took advantage of falling import costs and created the first box of chocolates. A decade later, they created the first heart-shaped box of chocolates.
Lovebirds are actual birds.
The term “lovebirds” describes a couple in love. It’s also the common name for the Agapornis bird.
The first valentine was sent from prison.
The Duke of Orleans wrote the first valentine in the early 15th century while he was imprisoned. He wrote a poem and sent it to his second wife, but, of course, he never saw her reaction to the poem he sent because he was in prison.
Every year, thousands of people send letters to Juliet (from Romeo and Juliet).
People write letters to Juliet, star-crossed lover from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and send them to Verona, Italy. This resulted in the creation of the Juliet Club, which is comprised of volunteers in Verona who respond to the letters.
Teachers get more valentines than anyone else.
We couldn’t agree more that teachers deserve valentines the most, so this is one of the Valentine’s Day facts on this list that may not come as surprise: Teachers get more valentines than any other group, including children, wives, and moms!
250 million roses are grown just for Valentine’s Day.
Doctors once prescribed chocolate to fix a broken heart.
Most Americans will buy gifts, cards, or treats for Valentine’s Day.
About 80% of consumers in the United States plan to shop for Valentine’s Day, making Americans unmatched in the realm of Valentine’s Day shopping. Sweet!
Hallmark prints more than 1,400 Valentine’s Day card designs.
Hallmark makes more than 1,400 Valentine’s card options, so there’s literally something for everyone.
Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest holidays for giving flowers.
If you’re giving flowers this Valentine’s Day, you’re in good company. The other top flower-giving holiday is Mother’s Day.
People in the Victorian era used valentines to discourage suitors.
During the Victorian era, people who did not want attention would send “vinegar valentines” or “penny dreadfuls.” They were intended as an insult to unwanted admirers.
Men spend more than women on Valentine’s Day.
In fact, men spend about two times more than women do on Valentine’s Day.
Esther Howland sold the first mass-produced valentines in the 19th century.
In the 1840s, Esther Howland of Massachusetts sold the first mass-produced Valentine’s Day cards. Howland’s father owned a stationery store, and she took advantage of the opportunity to sell fancy greeting cards.
Hallmark was the first greeting card company to go national.
Hallmark founder Joyce Clyde Hall was the first to advertise greeting cards nationally. He ran an ad in Ladies’ Home Journal and also sponsored radio ads.
California is the state with the most chocolatiers.
The state has 125 chocolate makers, followed by Pennsylvania with 114.
There was more than one Saint Valentine.
The Catholic Church recognizes three different Saint Valentines (or Valentinus). Each of the Saint Valentines was martyred and could have inspired the holiday.
Pope Gelasius officially declared February 14 “Saint Valentine’s Day.”
In the 5th century, Pope Gelasius declared February 14 “St. Valentine’s Day.”
Each flower’s color has meaning.
Red roses symbolize love, but other flower colors have meaning too. Deep pink symbolizes happiness, purple = royalty, and white = sincerity.
Four U.S. states have cities named Valentine.
You can live in a town named Valentine in Arizona, Nebraska, Texas, or Virginia.
Mass weddings are a Valentine’s Day tradition in the Philippines.
The government funds the mass weddings so they are free for the couples, aside from registering to get married.
In Japan, women give men chocolate for Valentine’s Day.
Women give men chocolates in Japan, although they have pushed back against this tradition, arguing that it’s too obligatory.
Oregon and Arizona both became states on Valentine’s Day.
Alexander Graham Bell filed his patent for the telephone on Valentine’s Day.
Alexander Graham Bell submitted documents to the patent office on February 14, 1876. The patent was granted on March 7, 1876.
63% of us will send a Valentine’s Day text.
Texting is the new Valentine’s Day card. Most people said they will text loved ones on Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day has its origins in a Roman holiday.
In the 6th century BC in February, Romans would celebrate the festival of Lupercalia by sacrificing animals and performing other rituals.
Cupid was a Greek god.
We know him as a chubby, arrow-shooting baby, but Cupid was actually a handsome Greek god in mythology whose magical arrows could make mortals fall in love or hate. He became the face of Valentine’s Day in the 19th century.
The red heart was one of the most-used emojis in 2023.
The red heart is a classic emoji, and in 2023, it was up there with “crying with laughter” and “rolling on the floor laughing” in the top three emojis.
Valentines are much plainer than they used to be.
In the 19th century, Valentine’s Day cards were at their peak. People decorated valentines with everything from peacock feathers to lace to jewels.