Roses, chocolates, cards to your sweetest... Romance comes alive every February 14,
the second most celebrated day in the United States, after December 25.
Sure, you know that life is like a box of chocolates, but just how much do you know
about the holiday and the month of February?
(Answers appear when you hover over the Valentine
at the end of each question... but NO FAIR PEEKING!
Answers are also given at the end of the questions,
in the event Dan Cupid stole them!)
1. Complete this quote 'The most serious charge which can be brought against New England is not _____________ but February'
2. One Valentine's Day belief comes from England where it was believed that these creatures seek their mates on Valentine's Day. Which creatures?
3. Another belief is that the word Valentine comes from the Norman word galantin. What does this word mean?
D) New growth
4. When was the first known Valentine's Day card sent?
5. When did Valentine's Day become commonly observed in the USA?
A) In pioneer days
B) During World War I
C) Around 1900
D) During the Civil War
6. What is Punxsutawney's groundhog named?
7. What is the groundhog's wife's name?
8. What statements are true of Groundhogs?
A) All groundhogs have 22 teeth.
B) Groundhogs hibernate one to a burrow, with at least two doorways.
C) Males emerge earlier than females each spring.
D) Groundhogs can lose 50 per cent of their body weight in hibernation. Their maximum size is 10 kilograms.
E) They can both swim and climb trees, and have a top speed of 15 kilometres an hour.
9. Love letters throughout the year are often signed with a string of "X's" to represent kisses. Why? This goes back to the Middle Ages, when:
A) A person was forced to kiss all documents over his signature
B) A person signed his name and then a priest had to kiss the signature to verify it
C) Illiterate people made an “X” and then kissed it
10. Asking for a woman’s hand in marriage goes back to the Greeks – true or false?
11. Ie Ovele Ouye is “I love you” in what language?
12. The most popular way to celebrate valentine’s day is to send someone a card. What is the second best way?
A) Call to say I love you
B) Go out to dinner
C) Send flowers
D) Give a gift
14. Valentines were first hand-written notes because
A) It was more romantic
B) There were no cards
C) The printing process was too expensive
D) People were not allowed to sing in public
15. This was the biggest influence in the 1800’s for increasing valentine popularity
A) Cheaper lace
B) Cheaper postage rates
C) Cheaper cost of paper and ink
D) Cheaper cost of perfume
16. In the late 19th century, many people sent valentines known as "penny dreadfuls". They were called "dreadful" because they contained...
A) Pictures of the devil
B) Threats of violence
C) Insulting verses
D) Squashed insects
E) Bits of poison ivy
17. Where can you find a town called "Valentine", where the post office gets flooded with valentine cards to be postmarked every year?
A) New York (near Niagara Falls)
2. A) Birds - During the Middle Ages, the belief that birds chose their mates on St. Valentine's Day led to the idea that boys and girls would do the same.
3. B) Lover - Many people believe that the connection between St. Valentine and the lovers is explained by the similarity between the Norman word "galantin," meaning a lover of women, and the name of the saint. This theory says that Galantin's Day was simply mispronounced, and that was what caused the confusion.
4. C) 1415 - The first true Valentine card was sent in 1415 by Charles, duke of Orleans, to his French wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London. It is still on display in a museum in England. The oldest Valentine's Day card in America dates back to the early 1700's. However, in some reports, Miss Esther Howland is given credit for sending the first valentine cards in the U.S.
5. D) During the Civil War – By the way, only the U.S., Canada, Mexico, France, Australia and the U.K. celebrate Valentine's Day.
6. B) Phil - The groundhog's full name is actually "Punxsutawney Phil, Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators and Weather Prophet Extraordinary." It was so proclaimed by the "Punxsutawney Groundhog Club" in 1887, the same year they declared Punxsutawney to be the weather capital of the world. Phil started making predictions in 1887 and has become an American institution. According to Punxsutawney records, Phil sees his shadow on February 2nd about 85% of the time.In recent years, it could be argued that Punxsutawney Phil both does and doesn't see his shadow. The news reports clearly show that Phil is removed from his hole before the sun even comes up, meaning he could not possibly see his shadow. However, because of all the lights from the television cameras, he can't help but see several shadows. So it's all dependent on whether or not the light he sees is natural or artificial.
7. C) Philomena - His first wife, Phyllis, died in 1978. Phil is now apparently happy in his marriage to his second wife Philomena, which was performed at a ceremony presided over by a county judge. This was an arranged marriage, with Philomena coming from the extreme southeastern corner of the state.
8. They are all true!
9. C) Illiterate people made an “X” and then kissed it - This tradition started with the Medieval practice of allowing those who could not write to sign documents with an "X". This was done in the presence of witnesses, and the signer placed a kiss upon the "X" to show sincerity. The "X" then became synonymous with the kiss in the minds of most people, and came to be commonly used at the end of letters as kiss symbols. There are two possible explanations why an "X" was chosen to represent one's name. One explanation is that the "X" shape was originally thought of as a cross. This "X" shaped cross was the symbol of St. Andrew. It may have been that people were making a pledge in the name of the Saint. The second explanation is that it may have been a pledge in the name of Christ. The "X", or chi symbol is also a letter of the Greek alphabet, which has also been used to represent the name of Christ.
10. False – it goes back to the Romans where a father literally took his daughter’s hand and passed it over to her husband.
11. Pig Latin!
12. A) Call to say I love you - 70 percent of those celebrating the holiday give a card, followed by a telephone call (49 %), gift (48 %), special dinner (37 %), candy (33 %) restaurant meal (30 %), and flowers (19 %).
13. D) Teachers – Followed by children, mothers, wives and then lovers. Mothers receive three times as many Valentines as sweethearts. And if that isn't heart-rending enough, teachers receive more than mothers! In fact, just about everyone receives more Valentines than Lovers. Children ages 6 to 10 exchange more than 650 million Valentine's cards with teachers, classmates, and family members.
14. C) The printing process was too expensive - Toward the end of the eighteenth century, improvements in the printing process made it easier and cheaper for people to exchange cards; so naturally, printed cards began to replace handwritten notes. by the mid-1800s, the first mass-produced valentines began to sell. The first American publisher of valentines was printer and artist Esther Howland. During the 1870s, her elaborate lace cards were purchased by the wealthy, as they cost a minimum of 5 dollars - some sold for as much as 35 dollars. Mass production eventually brought prices down, and the affordable "penny valentine" became popular with the lower classes.
15. B) Cheaper postage rates - During the late 1800s, postage rates around the world dropped, and the obscene St. Valentine's Day card became popular, despite the Victorian era being otherwise very prudish. As the numbers of racy valentines grew, several countries banned the practice of exchanging Valentine's Days cards. During this period, Chicago's post office rejected more than 25,000 cards on the grounds that they were so indecent, they were not fit to be carried through the U.S. mail.
16. C) Insulting verses - Penny Dreadfuls, also known as Vinegar were introduced in 1858 by John McLaughin, a Scotsman with a New York City Publishing Business. They were exactly that, 1¢. For the most part they were made from very inexpensive paper and poorly printed. They were not beautiful, ornate or romantic, quite the opposite. The artwork was uncomplicated, the colors were simple and they were filled with verses of humorous and rhyming insults, insulting everyone and anyone, teachers, spinsters, friends and other lovelorn individuals. Most often they were sent anonymously to people who were not liked. To make it even worse, in the 1800's the receiver was the person who paid for the postage, so these poor individuals paid to be insulted! Humorous Penny Dreadfuls with comic designs drawn in 1870 by American cartoonists Charles Howard became known as Penny Dreadfuls.
17. E) Texas - Valentine, Texas really does exist and every January and February the post office is flooded with valentine cards to be postmarked and mailed out to sweethearts everywhere!