11. Why we use “XOXO” to represent hugs and kisses
X as a symbol for kissing dates back to the Middle Ages.
he most common theory states that many medieval folks who couldn’t read would sign documents with a X, a symbol representative of Christ because of its similarity to a cross.
They would then reverently kiss the X in a show of piety.
It’s not super clear where the O for “hugs” comes from; one theory is that the O was just along for the ride because it was also very easy to write.
Another is that the “XOXO” symbol and the game Tic-Tac-Toe gained popularity at the same time, and thus X and O were already an established duo.
12. Why we call people “lovebirds”
Here are some interesting Valentine’s Day facts we bet you never knew: Doves, of course, are the avian stars of Valentine’s Day, but birds, in general, have a strong association with the holiday.
Fourteenth-century author Geoffrey Chaucer first made the connection when he wrote in a poem that “on St. Valentine’s Day … every bird cometh … to choose his mate.”
February 14 gained notoriety as the start of the spring mating season for birds, which would help solidify the day’s association with love and romance.
There is even a real type of bird commonly called a “lovebird.”
The term can refer to a few different species of African parrots, all of which are extremely devoted to their mates.
Therefore, we give that nickname to people who mimic that lovey-dovey behaviour.
13. Why it’s different in Japan
In the United States, men spend twice as much money on Valentine’s Day gifts as women do, according to Good Housekeeping.
But in Japan, the women are the big spenders, while the men simply receive gifts.
In 1936, the chocolate company Morozoff introduced the (formerly) primarily Western holiday to Japan.
The holiday caught on – but thanks to a translation goof, it became a slightly different celebration.
On February 14, women give chocolate to the men in their lives, both romantic interests and otherwise.
Don’t worry, though – there’s a whole separate day for women to get their chocolate, too.
A month later, on March 14, the Japanese celebrate “White Day,” when the men reciprocate and give the women gifts (often consisting of white chocolate).