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11. Why we use “XOXO” to represent hugs and kisses

11. Why we use “XOXO” to represent hugs and kisses
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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”

12. Why we call people “lovebirds”
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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

13. Why it’s different in Japan
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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).

14. Why there’s so much lace and ribbon involved

14. Why there’s so much lace and ribbon involved
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Even the simplest of Valentine’s Day chocolate boxes are likely to be adorned with some kind of ribbon decoration or lace-like design.

They’re pretty, sure, but the reasons they’re so popular for Valentine’s Day decorations are far more complicated.

Both have strong associations with romance that go way back in history.

In the Middle Ages, knights would often ride into battle carrying a ribbon from their sweethearts as good luck.

Lace, meanwhile, has a far more literal association with love.

The word itself comes from the Latin word lacques, which means “to ensnare” or “capture,” as in capture someone’s heart.

15. Why it’s not just for couples

15. Why it’s not just for couples
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Yes, lovers get top billing when it comes to celebrating Valentine’s Day.

But there are plenty of ways to celebrate that don’t involve romantic love… and many people celebrate that way, probably more than you think.

According to Good Housekeeping, the most common recipients of Valentine’s Day cards are actually teachers!

This is most likely due to classroom Valentine’s celebrations.

People also buy lots of cards for their kids and their moms, and a whopping nine million Americans spend money on their pets.

If you love your furry friend, what better day than Valentine’s Day to show off your puppy love?

This article first appeared on RD.com

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