By Lisa M. Rabey
Systems & Web Librarian
Ahhh, Valentine’s Day!
This seems to be the holiday people either really love or really hate. However you feel about February 14th, one thing is clear: we’re buying loads of chocolate, jewelry, and flowers.
Valentine’s Day as we know it is a fairly modern convention, but not that modern. History suggests we were exchanging cards and notes as far back as the 13th century, but mass produced cards didn’t come into being until the 1840s. According to the Greeting Card Association, 150 million Valentine Day cards were purchased in 2012!
Farther back still, evidence says in ancient Rome, people waited until March 1st to celebrate their love. The Romans, who were pretty spectacular in most ways (except for the whole slave owning thing), were also the ones who perhaps gave us the word “romance.” The etymology of the word seems to suggest that while the definition has changed slightly over the years, the core definition is derived from the Romans name for themselves.
February 14th isn’t all about romance and teddy bears, either. Below are some lesser known facts and trivia about the day.
- February 14th is the second day of Lupercalia, pre-Roman cleansing and fertility festival
- Oregon added as the 33rd state in 1859
- Arizona added as the 48th state in 1912
- League of Women Voters founded in 1920
- Penicillin discovered in 1929
- Simon Pegg born in 1970
- P.G. Wodehouse dies in 1975