Trivia about Hearts, both real and candy, and Valentines Day
Conversation hearts were invented in the 1860s by the
brother of NECCO's founder. These first hearts had printed
paper notes tucked inside. The lengthy, old-fashioned
sayings included such wistful thoughts as "Please send a
lock of your hair by return mail."
Some classic sayings include "Kiss Me," "Sweet Talk," and
"Be Mine." Some mottos are discontinued for awhile and then
make a reappearance, while others are deleted for good when
they become too outdated. Examples of outdated sayings
include "Dig Me" and the cheerful "You Are Gay."
NECCO must produce about 100,000 pounds of the candy hearts
every day in order to meet the Valentine demand, when about
8 billion hearts are sold in six weeks.
For 2010, NECCO introduced new flavors and sayings. The new
flavors include strawberry, green apple, lemon, grape,
orange, and blue raspberry.
For the first time in its 145-year history, the American
public was invited to participate in an online survey to
decide which phrases of love would appear on conversation
hearts in 2010. The winners include: "Tweet Me," "Text Me,"
"You Rock," "Soul Mate," "Love Bug," and "Me + You."
Conversation hearts come in two sizes—the standard 1/2 inch
and the larger 3/4 inch model. The small hearts generally
can fit no more than two words with four letters each, while
the large hearts may accommodate two words with six letters
The average adult heart beats 72 times a minute; 100,000
times a day; 3,600,000 times a year; and 2.5 billion times
during a lifetime.
Every day, the heart creates enough energy to drive a truck
20 miles. In a lifetime, that is equivalent to driving to
the moon and back.
The “thump-thump” of a heartbeat is the sound made by the
four valves of the heart closing.
The right atrium holds about 3.5 tablespoons of blood. The
right ventricle holds slightly more than a quarter cup of
blood. The left atrium holds the same amount of blood as
the right, but its walls are three times thicker.
French physician Rene Laennec (1781-1826) invented the
stethoscope when he felt it was inappropriate to place his
ear on his large-buxomed female patients' chests.
A woman’s heart typically beats faster than a man’s. The
heart of an average man beats approximately 70 times a
minute, whereas the average woman has a heart rate of 78
Valentine's Day stems from the ancient Roman festival of
Lupercalia, a fertility celebration commemorated annually
on February 15. Pope Gelasius I recast this pagan festival
as a Christian feast day circa 496, declaring February 14
to be St. Valentine's Day.
Most scholars believe that the St. Valentine of the holiday
was a priest who attracted the disfavor of Roman emperor
Claudius II around 270. According to one legend, Claudius
II had prohibited marriage for young men, claiming that
bachelors made better soldiers. Valentine continued to
secretly perform marriage ceremonies but was eventually
apprehended by the Romans and put to death.
Another legend has it that Valentine, imprisoned by Claudius,
fell in love with the daughter of his jailer. Before he was
executed, he allegedly sent her a letter signed "from your
Valentine." Probably the most plausible story surrounding
St. Valentine is one not focused on Eros (passionate love)
but on agape (Christian love): he was martyred for refusing
to renounce his religion.
It was not until the 14th century that this Christian feast
day became definitively associated with love. it was Chaucer
who first linked St. Valentine's Day with romance in 1381
when he wrote a poem in honor of the engagement between
England's Richard II and Anne of Bohemia. He associated the
occasion with the St. Valentine's feast day.
Over the centuries, the holiday evolved, and by the 18th
century, gift-giving and exchanging hand-made cards on
Valentine's Day had become common in England. Hand-made
valentine cards made of lace, ribbons, and featuring cupids
and hearts eventually spread to the American colonies.
The tradition of Valentine's cards did not become widespread
in the United States, however, until the 1850s, when Esther
A. Howland, a Mount Holyoke graduate and native of Worcester,
Mass., began mass-producing them.