Happy Valentine's Day!
Approximately 150 million Valentine's Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine's Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas. In addition to the United States, Valentine's Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France and Australia. In Great Britain.
Valentine's Day began to be popularly celebrated around the 17th century. By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one's feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine's Day greetings.
Contrary to popular belief, Hallmark did not "invent" Valentine's Day, it was actually fashionable to give Valentine's Day cards as early as the 1700's. But the woman credited with "branding" Valentine's Day was Esther Howland, whose ornate cards were sold in the U.S. starting in the 1840's.
Hallmark sold its first Valentine's Day card in 1913, and clever pop-ups and cut outs replaced the lace-and-doily creations of the past.
The roots of Valentine's Day goes back to ancient times, when people paid honor to the Roman God of Fertility. This was known as the Feast of Lupercalia, and was celebrated even then on February 14th. February 14th was formerly thought to be the first day of bird's mating for the season. This sparked the custom of sending valentines to each other.
Roses - Significance and Meaning of Each Color
The tradition of giving roses on Valentine's Day goes as far back as Medieval times.
According to some cultural anthropologists, the rose is a symbol of the Virgin Mary. A rosary was originally 165 dried rose petals wound up tight and made into a chain. In Medieval times roses were used to make medicine, perfume and love potions.
rosary made of rose petals
Plants use flowers as a part of their mating rituals. Their perfume is a form of liquid memory reminding us of the excitement we associate with romance.
Roses come in a wide range of colors. Each different color has a different meaning, or significance. It sends a silent, yet extremely important message from the sender to receiver.
Who originally defined the rose color meanings? We don't know. But, you should make sure you are sending the right message when you select roses for someone. Otherwise, he or she will get the wrong message!
|Red||Love, beauty, courage and respect|
|White||Purity and innocence, silence or secrecy, also reverence and humility|
|Pink||Appreciation,"Thank you", grace, perfect happiness, and admiration|
|Dark Pink||Appreciation, gratitude|
|Light Pink||Admiration, sympathy|
|Yellow||Joy, gladness, friendship, delight, the promise of a new beginning|
|Desire and enthusiasm|
Red and White
|Given together, these signify unity|
|A symbol of purity and loveliness|
|Symbolic of girlhood|
|Signifies "Love at first sight"|
Of course, roses aren't the only popular gift on this special day.
Chocolate has long been associated with love, decadence, fertility and passion. Giving chocolate to someone you love is a practice that originated with the Aztecs in Central America, giving it at least 500 years of historic precedence.
On the arrival in what is now Mexico of the Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortez, he was welcomed warmly by the Aztec emperor Moctezuma, who may have believed this stranger was the incarnation of Quetzalcoatl, who had promised to return. Moctezuma shared his secrets with Cortez, including the chocolate drink, and consumed 50 servings of chocolate from golden goblets before retiring to the pleasures of his harem. Cortez and his men were told that the drink was “effectual to provoke lustful desires towards women”.
While 75% of chocolate purchases are made by women all year long, during the days and minutes before Valentine's Day, 75% of the chocolate purchases are made by men. Over $1billion of chocolate is purchased for Valentine's Day.
So now on Valentine’s Day chocolate is once again used to stimulate desires, packaged in elaborate golden wrapping and presented to someone special as it was in Moctezuma’s time. It always comforts and delights.
While most of the world celebrates Valentine's Day in one way or another, some countries, such as Iran,Saudi Arabia,Malaysia and Pakistan, have actually banned the celebration due to what leaders consider the days links to "vice activities" and the spreading of Western cultures. Reactions have been mixed however and while arrests are made, the moderate attitude is more accepting. Outspoken voices in Malaysia are thanking the government for doing all their thinking for them.
Whatever your viewpoint might be - enjoy the day for what it might offer. Life is too short to let an opportunity for love and romance to go by. Even little kids in school still like giving out Valentines and receiving them.
And if it's true that the way to a man's heart is through his stomache - then perhaps the same can be said of women? You can never go wrong taking your signifigant other out for a romantic meal to re-connect over good food and conversation. It's always worth it.
Happy Valentine's Day!
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