The Origins of Valentine's Day Quiz
What was the name of the ancient Roman festival that celebrated fertility and was the origin of today's Valentine's Day?
- Held yearly on February 15 in Rome, this celebration is widely accepted as the precursor of our modern celebration of love, romance, and relationships.
When did the first Valentine's Day cards begin to be mass-produced in the United States?
- Ester A. Howland is hailed as the Mother of the American Valentine, producing and selling these greeting cards en masse.
According to Greek mythology, who was the god of love and relationships?
- The male personification of love was a very handsome god named Eros in Greek mythology. Later, the Roman equivalent would become even more popular: the cherub Cupid.
Which pope officially dubbed February 14 as "St. Valentine's Day" in 496 A.D.?
- Pope Gelasius I ruled from 492-496 A.D., and was not only a prolific writer of church theology but also proclaimed February 14 a holiday for the martyr.
Where in the world was the first St. Valentine's Day celebrated on February 14, 1400 A.D.?
- To celebrate the day, King Charles VI created the High Court of Love ("la cour amoureuse" in French) which was run by women and dealt with marriages, divorces, and other matters of the heart. Fitting for a city known for love!
Who was the first person to pass out what is now known as a "valentine", that was actually sent from a prison cell?
- Charles was only 21 years old in 1415 when he was locked in the Tower of London and penned a poem to his wife, referring to her as his "valentine". And thus, history was made!
St. Valentine was a Roman martyr and Catholic saint from the 3rd century A.D. What did he do that led to his execution by beheading?
- St. Valentine went against Emperor Claudius II of Rome's ban on marriage between young couples and continued marrying them, eventually leading to his beheading — on February 14, around 270 A.D.
What English king proclaimed February 14 to be the national holiday of St. Valentine's Day, issued in a royal charter in 1537 A.D.?
- Ironically enough, the king best known for divorcing and beheading his wives instituted Valentine's Day in the United Kingdom.
Before candy and roses became associated with this romantic holiday, what did women in rural England pin to their pillows in the 1700s the night before Valentine's Day?
- This old wives' tale was meant to summon a dream of the sleeping woman's future husband on the eve of Valentine's Day.
Geoffrey Chaucer published his poem "The Parliament of Fowls" in the late 1300s A.D. What did he associate St. Valentine's Day with inside this work?
- The poem follows the process of Nature's parliament that chooses mates for birds, ultimately pairing off and welcoming spring with a song.