Saint Valentine’s Day/Valentine’s Day/Feast of Saint Valentine

Science 2014-02-14

Happy Valentine’s Day! Here at Notch we love talking Chemistry, and today is no exception. So, do you actually love with your heart or is it just a chemical reaction?


Valentine’s day is believed to be derived from St Valentinus, a saint that was executed after serving a prison sentence on 14th February 270AD. Claudius II, a Roman emperor, had put a marriage ban on Rome, as he wanted to keep men single so that they would join the army. St Valentinus was found out to be performing illegal weddings and imprisoned. Whilst in prison he was visited by one of his jailor’s blind daughters, who wanted to be cured. Miraculously she was cured and carried on visiting. On the day of his execution, it is believed that St Valentinus wrote a letter to the girl and signed it ‘from your Valentine’.


Cut to, 2014 and how we’re celebrating today. Most countries celebrate in the same way by exchanging gifts; chocolates, flowers and cards between loved ones. Sweden’s Valentines Day or Alla Hjärtans Dagis as it’s known, is spent celebrating with lovers, close family and friends. In Japan, South Korea and Taiwan the women give men chocolates and a month later, March 14th the men return the favour – this is known as ‘White Day’. In Dominican Republic & El Salvador a game called Angelito is played where family and friends rip up pieces of paper, write someone’s name down and then they give a present to his/her Angelito. In Vietnam, couples wear the same style and/or colour of clothes. Whilst many see this holiday as a ‘Hallmark Holiday’ the first offered Valentine’s Day card was in 1913 and Hallmark began producing them in 1916.  Will you be sending any of the estimated one billion Valentines cards that are sent each year, worldwide?


Love Chemistry Valentines


In terms of Chemistry, the feeling when first falling in love of your racing heart, flushed skin and sweaty palms, is all thanks to dopaminenorepinephrine and phenylethylamine that we release in the body. This cocktail of chemicals produce elation, intense energy, sleeplessness, craving, loss of appetite and focused attention. This is known as the attraction stage. Following on from that comes the attachment phase and this is where oxytocin and vasopressin is released. These two combined cements a longer lasting commitment between two people and creates a strong bond.


Do you know any science chat up lines? A personal favourite of mine is; Do you have 11 Protons? Because you’re Sodium fine!


Tweet me with yours @JennaAtNotch