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Things You Didn't Know About Valentine's Day

Posted: Feb 09 2016

 

Happy Valentine's Day from Assembly........

Before you get to the exchanging of presents and ordering of oysters, we recommend that you learn some of the lesser known facts that comprise the piecey timeline of this strange, sweet, occasionally sad, and sometimes spooky holiday.


It all began, it’s thought, when Emperor Claudius the second created a law that forbade people from getting married during wartime. Bishop Valentine wouldn’t have it. So he went against the Emperor’s wishes and performed secret weddings. When St. Valentine was paying his dues in jail, he wrote a note to the jailor's daughter and signed it, "from your Valentine.” Though this was a bit creepy, we haven’t strayed from the written tradition since.

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A bit later, during the Medieval times, the letter X became a symbol for the kiss, because those who were unable to write their names subbed in the letter X, in front of a witness, to mark their names on scrolls. They would then kiss the written letter X, as a display of their sincerity.

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In the Middle Ages, ribbons were exchanged in romantic relationships as a symbol of good luck--Knights were given ribbons before their tournaments so that they could carry a special something from their special someone as they went to battle. It’s for this reason that ribbons are frequently found on Valentines. Another symbol often found on Valentines cards is the dove. Held sacred to the deities of Love, doves are well known for choosing and sticking with one true love for their entire lives--and it was believed that they chose their partners in romantic crime on February 14.

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In the 1800s, physicians would advise their patients to eat chocolate to cure their heartsickness. They believed that it would distract them from the perils of lost love. On a similar but wildly less romantic note, the ever-chalky and supremely flavorless Conversation Hearts candies have a shelf life of five years. The expressions written on the hearts would grow stale, however, so each year the company releases ten new printed sayings.

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Also in the 1800’s, small pieces of mirror were often placed on higher-caliber Valentines. We then regressed to construction paper, doilies, and glitter glue, but the sentiment remains intact.

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Every Valentine's Day the city of Verona, Italy--the home of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet--receives about 1,000 letters that are addressed to Juliet. Simultaneously and annually, 300,000 other letters go through Loveland, Colorado, so that people can receive a special heart stamp cancellation for Valentine’s Day.

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There’s also a tiny speck of a town called Valentine right outside of Marfa, Texas (which is where Prada Marfa really is), but no one there does anything special in honor of Valentine’s Day. But if you find that to be sad, know that across the seas, in China, the Qixi Festivalis is a holiday built to commemorate lost love.

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Finally, it’s believed that a kiss on Valentine’s Day will bring good luck to both parties for the entire year.

 

 

 

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