By Mara Papatheodorou, your Tastes & Traditions Expert
Love is in the air and February 14th is the day to celebrate! Valentine’s Day is the day of romance celebrated around the world. From loving notes or gifts to flowers and sweets, share that special something with your spouse, your sweetheart, your family and friends. Plan a Regent Seven Seas Cruises® voyage in 2013 and create happy and delicious memories. Happy Valentine’s Day wherever you may be!
SIP: Champagne—the sparkling drink of love!
SAVOR: Chocolate—the sweetest of sweets for your sweetie!
Fun facts about Valentine’s Day:
How did Valentine’s Day come about?
The ancient Romans celebrated the feast of Luperalia—a fertility festival in honor of Juno the queen of the Roman gods and goddesses that became known as a day of love. Roman boys drew names of Roman girls out of an urn and then exchanged gifts on festival day.
Who is St Valentine and why February 14th?
St. Valentine was a priest who in 270 AD defied Roman Emperor Claudius II ‘s ban on marriage during wartime and married young lovers in secret. For this, he was jailed and executed on February 14th. While in jail he had written a love letter to the jailer’s daughter and signed it Valentine with an x, the sign of a kiss in medieval times. In 1537 English King Henry VII declared February 14th St Valentine’s Day and it came to America in 1629 when the Puritans arrived from England.
Why are hearts, arrows and cupids symbols of Valentine’s Day?
Cupid is the Roman God of Love and the son of Venus (Goddess of Love and Beauty). He looks like a baby to encourage the “birth of love” which should be tender and cherished like a newborn. The heart is a symbol of love and vulnerability and the arrow represents being struck by love.
What about love notes?
Sending a heartfelt message goes back to Roman times but the British were the ones who popularized expressing feelings by written message. The first Valentine was sent by Charles Duke of Orleans. When imprisoned in the Tower of London after the Battle of Agincourt in 1415, he sent a love note to his wife in France that February. Today, over 1 billion cards are sent out internationally, only second to Christmas!
What does “wear your heart on your sleeve” mean?
This expression comes from the early 1800s when young American and British men wore slips of paper pinned to their sleeves with their girlfriends’ names written on it.
Who gets the most Valentine’s Day cards every year?
Juliet of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet! Every year, the Italian city of Verona receives over 1,000 Valentine’s addressed to her.
Why is chocolate the Valentine’s Day candy?
Believe it or not, chocolate contains the “love booster” chemical called phenylaline that is also produced in our brains when falling in love. Physicians in the 1800’s commonly advised patients to eat chocolate to celebrate love or to eat it to calm their pining for lost love. Richard Cadbury, of the Cadbury chocolate family produced the first heart shaped box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day in the late 1800’s. Today chocolate is the number one candy purchased worldwide to celebrate.
What’s the story of flowers?
Flowers were considered love tokens long before St Valentine. Bacchus (the God of Wine & Joy) and Venus (the Goddess of Love & Beauty) believed flowers represented romance and beauty because of their look and fragrance. Red roses are the flower of love because of the color of the heart and the heat of passion. Roses are grown all over the world and South America is one of the largest international growers. Gardenias are often sent to let you know your hopeful sweetheart has secretly loved you all along. In Denmark, lucky ladies receive “snowdrops” white flowers as pure as snow for Valentine’s Day.
What is the most amazing gift of love ever?
The Taj Mahal in India. Mughal Emperor Shahjahan built it as a stunning memorial to his beloved wife.