To help get you in the mood for romance this week, here are five thing about Valentine’s Day you may not have known.
1. “Vinegar Valentines” insulted their recipients. During the Victorian Era, those wishing to deride would-be suitors, neighbors or other acquaintances might anonymously send them insulting cards. These cards, also known as penny dreadfuls, were popular in the United States and Britain.
2. Juliet Capulet gets mail every year. Thousands of people send letters to Verona, Italy, addressed to the doomed heroine from “Romeo and Juliet.” Each letter is answered by a team of volunteers from the Juliet Club, which gives awards to the authors of each year’s most romantic notes.
3. Valentine’s Day cards are still a big business. Consumers in the United States purchase about 145 million Valentine’s Day cards each year, according to the Greeting Card Association. The National Retail Federation estimates Americans will spend more than $20 billion on cards, gifts and candy this year.
4. Cities of love. Forget Paris! If you’re feeling romantic, you can plan a trip to one of several U.S. towns that share the name of the Roman saint who inspired the holiday: Valentine, TX; Valentine, NE; and Valentines, VA.
5. The number of roses in your bouquet may have meaning. According to some florists, one rose is good for a whirlwind romance. Giving two of these flowers means you’re trying to apologize. A bouquet of 12 is reserved for marriage proposals, and 36 is a reminder of past romantic moments. If you can afford it, 100 roses is said to be the ultimate gesture of devotion to your loved one.
Got ideas for future editions of “The List”? Email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.