Fun Facts about Valentine's Day
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Romance Report1 of 10
By Julie Fishman
Cupid's got his arrows aimed at billions of lovers as we celebrate Valentine's Day. And these fun facts about the world's most romantic holiday are just the fix for nursing a broken heart or distracting one that's aflutter. Whether you'll be kicking back with all your single ladies or carousing with your Prince Charming, here's to a happy holiday of love!
Partying Pagans2 of 10
Most historians link the lover's holiday to an annual celebration in Rome that occurred every Feb. 15. During the boisterous bonanza, men stripped naked and spanked young maidens with animal-skin whips in an effort to increase fertility. While tame in comparison, modern Valentine's Day festivities are observed today in Mexico, Canada, France, Australia and the U.K., in addition to here in the U.S.
Secret Lovers3 of 10
While history buffs don't unanimously agree on who the original Valentine was, the most popular suspect is a clergyman in ancient Rome. When the emperor outlawed marriage during wartime (because he believed single men made better soldiers), Bishop Valentine performed secret wedding ceremonies. It wasn't until 496 A.D., over 200 years after the bishop's death, that Pope Gelasius I officially declared Feb. 14 as Saint Valentine's Day.
Love Notes4 of 10
While Americans likely began exchanging handmade valentines in the 17th century, the first mass-produced cards date to the 1840s. The Greeting Card Association estimates that 1 billion cards are sent each year worldwide today and that more than half of Americans purchase at least one card, making Valentine's Day the biggest greeting card holiday in the U.S. after Christmas.
ON MSN: Send a Valentine Greeting Today!
<3 U5 of 10
According to a survey by American Express, 56 percent of Americans plan on taking a more digital approach to sending their declarations of love this year. Out of that group, 29 percent say they'll text sweet nothings and another 29 percent say they'll post on Facebook. Twenty-three percent will send a naughty-or-nice email and 20 percent will mail a loving e-card. We just hope that e-card doesn't sing.
Sweet Romance6 of 10
The National Confectioners Association reports that Valentine's Day candy adds up to a sweet billion dollars in sales each year. Nearly three-quarters of that money is spent on chocolate, which has been lauded as an aphrodisiac since the 15th century. Candy hearts are a hit too, of course: Eight billion were made in 2009, and if you were to line up all those little candies, then the distance would reach from Italy to Arizona 20 times.
Hey, Big Spender7 of 10
While the average consumer spends about $130 on Valentine's Day gifts, meals and entertainment, men consistently dole out double what women typically pay, offering up about $287, compared to women's $164. Women and men are pretty much aligned in their giving and receiving this year, in terms of quantity. Five in 10 women (51 percent) are likely to gift a meal or tickets and four in ten men (41 percent) will give jewelry and flowers.
Wine & Dine8 of 10
Speaking of meals—the National Restaurant Association expects one quarter of American adults to dine out on Valentine's Day, making it the second busiest holiday for restaurants next to Mother's Day. Diners are expected to fork over an estimated $3.9 billion on romantic meals alone, with meal price averaging $142.11, not to mention the bound-to-be-extravagant gifts. What happened to "It's the thought that counts"?
What a Smooch9 of 10
On Valentine's Day in 2011, 14 couples gathered in Thailand to compete for the world record of longest kiss, previously set at 32 hours. Rules dictated that contestants couldn't sit, sleep or separate, and one of them fainted just a half-hour into the feat. The winning couple lasted 46 hours, 24 minutes and 9 seconds, earning themselves a diamond ring and $3,200—in addition to bragging rights.
Let's Get It On10 of 10
Oh, great sexpectations. A recent study by the experts at Good in Bed reveal that nearly 85 percent of men and women believe that sex is an important part of Valentine's Day. Condom company Durex reports that the surge in sex on V-Day increases their sales about 25 percent in the month of February. Correlation, or causation?
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