Things You Didn’t Know About Valentine’s Day

Not a Hallmark Holiday: Though it is often claimed to be a holiday made up by the popular greeting card company, Hallmark didn’t produce its first Valentine’s Day card until 1913. This is literally centuries after the first declaration of the official holiday in 1537.

• In Your Dreams: Ladies in medieval times who were looking for a suitor come Valentine’s Day had an interesting tradition. So they could dream of their future spouses, women would spend the evening eating bizarre foods in hopes of seeing the one they were meant for in their dreams.

• Heart-Shaped Box: John Cadbury, a coffee and tea shop owner in Birmingham England discovered the profitability behind chocolate manufacturing in 1822. In 1822 his son Richard packaged Cadbury chocolates, known really for their Easter creme eggs, in the world’s first heart-shaped box.

• Lovesick Cure: We knew that chocolate was pretty powerful but we had no idea how much doctors believed in it. Physicians in the 1800s used to prescribe patients a dose of chocolate to cure the pangs of lost love.

• The Oldest Valentine: When he was arrested in the Tower of London in 1415, the Duke of New Orleans did not let that stop him from writing to his love. It is believed that his love poem he sent his wife is the first recorded knowledge of a Valentine.

• Your Heart on Your Sleeve: Legend has it the saying “wear your heart on your sleeve” began with a Valentine’s Day tradition. In the Middle Ages young men and women would pull out paper hearts from a bowl with a name on it and claim that person as their Valentine. The person’s name they chose would be pinned to their sleeves for a week.

• Cupid’s History: As the son of winged messenger of the gods Mercury and the goddess of love Venus, Cupid was destined to be a flying romantic. While he is often depicted as an arrow wielding cherub, you can sometimes find cupid in battle armor to both suggest the ironic parallels between warfare and romance or to symbolize the invincibility of love.