EVERYONE has heard of St Valentine's Day - even the most unromantic - but here are some things you may not know about the most romantic day in the calendar.

St Valentine's Day falls on February 14. But long before St Valentine lived, this time of year had strong links with fertility!

February 14 is the day that birds traditionally choose their mates, which may be why so many bizarre customs developed in connection with new love on this date.

February 15 was the date of the Roman festival of Lupercalia - the Wolf - where young men held a lottery to decide which girl would be theirs. Many rumbustious celebrations were held on this occasion!

In Medieval times, girls ate unusual foods on St Valentine's Day to make them dream of their future husband.

In the Middle Ages, they also believed that the first unmarried person of the opposite sex you met on the morning of St Valentine's Day, would become your spouse.

Elaborate handmade messages, cards and gifts became popular during the 17th century.

During the middle of the 17th century even married people took a Valentine - not always their legal 'other half'! By the 19th century printed Valentine's cards were on sale and extremely fashionable - in 1825 the Post Office handled more than 200,000 letters more than usual on St Valentine's Day.

After this the popularity of St Valentine's Day waned as the Christmas card took over.

No one knows for sure who St Valentine actually was. There are two men who could be responsible for the traditional association with love and marriage, but the most likely theory is that Valentine was a priest during the reign of Roman Emperor Claudius II.

Emperor Claudius had issued a decree that Roman soldiers were not allowed to marry - because marriage would inhibit their ability to fight! But romantic Valentine continued to marry soldiers in secret, until eventually his clandestine activities were discovered and he was beheaded! Not before falling in love with his jailer's daughter though, for whom he left a note signed 'Your Valentine' before he was led away to his death.