As Valentine’s Day rolls around again, let’s see just how much you really know about love and romance.
- Who gave up a crown for love and in what year?
- Cupid is the Roman name for the god of love; what name does he have in Greek mythology?
- Who is credited with writing the first Valentine message?
- How many roses are sent for Valentine’s Day each year?
a) One million b) Six million c) 50 million
- Who came up with the idea of the Valentine’s Day heart-shaped chocolate box?
- On average, how many marriage proposals are there each Valentine’s Day?
- What’s the one day that women are supposedly able to ask a man to marry them?
- What great Shakespearian tragedy follows the story of two star-crossed lovers, and what were the names of their feuding families?
- What popular website debuted on Valentine’s Day?
- What notorious gangster orchestrated the St. Valentine’s Day massacre?
- What emperor called for St. Valentine’s execution?
- What fruit was once known as a “love apple” for its alleged aphrodisiac properties?
Valentine’s Day quiz answers
- Edward VIII abdicated as King of England on December 10, 1936 when he was prevented from marrying a divorcee, Wallis Simpson.
- Eros, who was the mischievous god of love, a minion and constant companion of the goddess Aphrodite.
- Charles, Duke of Orleans wrote Farewell to Love in the 15th century while a prisoner in the Tower of London after being captured at the Battle of Agincourt. It was written in French and was addressed to his wife. Here is the English translation:
I am already sick of love,
My very gentle Valentine,
Since for me you were born too soon,
And I for you was born too late.
God forgives he who has estranged
Me from you for the whole year.
I am already, etc.
My very gentle, etc.
Well might I have suspected,
Having such a destiny,
Thus would have happened this day,
How much that Love would have commanded.
I am already, etc.
- c) An estimated 50 million roses are sent each Valentine’s Day.
- Richard Cadbury, who was the second son of the Quaker John Cadbury, founder of Cadbury cocoa and the chocolate company. Richard and his brother George took over the family business in 1861 and Richard commercialised the connection between romance and confectionery when the company produced a heart-shaped box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day 1868.
- 220,000. Although it may seem a bit of a cliché to choose Valentine’s Day, it is still one of the most popular days of the year to pop the question.
- February 29, known as Bachelor’s Day. The origins of this outdated tradition are pretty hazy with one theory that it gave women the chance to nab a lad who was being too slow to ask the question himself. Obviously, February 29 only appears every four years in a Leap Year so there was some constraint over women getting carried away. According to custom, women who were planning a proposal had to wear breeches or a scarlet petticoat. Presumably this was so any man who saw their partner in this attire could leg it before the woman had chance to get on one knee.
- Romeo and Juliet was written early in William Shakespeare’s career and is one of his most popular, and most performed, plays. The two families were Montague and Capulet.
- The video sharing platform YouTube was launched on February 14, 2005, by three former PayPal employees. They subsequently sold to Google in November 2006 for US$1.65 billion.
- Alphonse Gabriel Capone, Al Capone, sometimes known by the nickname Scarface. His seven year reign as a Chicago crime boss ended when he went to prison at the age of 33. In the St Valentine’s Day Massacre, seven gang rivals were murdered in broad daylight.
- By some accounts, St Valentine was a Roman priest and physician who suffered martyrdom during the persecution of Christians by the emperor Claudius II Gothicus around 270. St Valentine is the patron saint of lovers, epileptics and beekeepers.
- The tomato. Botanically, the tomato is a fruit. The French called the tomato the pomme d’amour, or the Love Apple, for their belief that the exotic tomato had aphrodisiac powers. The Aztecs, who were the first to cultivate it in Peru and Ecuador, called it ‘tomatl’.