Our most common Valentine's Day traditions include giving cards, red roses, chocolates, and romantic dinners. However, it's the personal touches such as a handmade Valentines or an intimate feast lovingly prepared by a paramour that truly capture one's heart.
Here's a short history of Valentine's Day and its popular symbols to show you where so many of our traditions have come from - use this as a guide to inspire your celebration this year!
That Rosy Cheeked Cupid
A popular little angel on Valentine's Day, this mythological cherub flew around shooting arrows into one's heart. According to legend, people struck would not perish but live to fall in love with the first person they saw.
An obvious symbol of love as the heart is considered to be the seat of emotion. The heart beats fast when one is excited or filled with the notion of a lover. Whereas some may be ruled by their hearts, others happily open them up especially on Valentine's Day.
Red Roses To The One I Love
Roses have long been known as the "flower of love," because mythology proclaims it to be the favorite of Venus, Roman goddess of love.
The red rose symbolizes love and passion and the gift of a dozen red roses to your Valentine is customary on this day.
Yellow roses signify friendship and white represents purity and faith.
The pink rose means happiness, which presents an ironic twist for this holiday because a pink almond tree blossomed over Saint Valentine's grave.
Candy Conversation Hearts
These tiny heart-shaped candies with an embossed message have been around since 1902! A favorite of children to exchange in school with racy sayings like "Be Mine" the manufacturer, NECCO, currently sells about 8 billion of these confectionary gems on Valentine's Day.
A Heart-Shaped Box of Chocolates
Chocolate has long been associated with this holiday as it is a natural aphrodisiac. Phenyl ethylamine, a substance found in chocolate, is supposed to make one feel as if they are falling in love.
Packaging chocolates in a heart-shaped red box for Valentine's Day was the brilliant marketing idea of chocolatiers.
From 1840 to 1860, Valentine's Day cards were works of art often hand painted and adorned with silk, lace, fresh flowers or sachets, glass ornamentation, and gold-leaf accents. Esther Howland is credited as the first person to sell and mass produce these lavish Valentines at a price that ranged from $5 to $30 for one card. A pretty penny in the mid 1800's! The artistry became a little less detailed, but late 19th century cards were still decorated with items such as feathers, faux flowers, and costume jewelry.
What started as a hand-written note expressing, "I love you," has turned into an amorous empire. Approximately one billion valentine cards are sent each year on this day of love. Electronic Valentines are also sent to friends and loved ones with romantic music, dancing hearts, and even recoding capabilities so you can utter sweet nothings to your recipient over the World Wide Web. It's a great timesaver for those on the go, but perhaps a touch impersonal for your sweetheart.
Inspired by traditions, try celebrating Valentine's Day with one of these ideas!
Cupid might shoot arrows to ignite love, but we've got a few sweet ans sexy ideas you can use instead! Read More
You'll see red hearts for days after you watch one of our top picks for the most romantic Valentine's Day movies! Read More
Not sure if you SHOULD get your Valentine red roses? Check our guide to see which color is best to give to all the ladies in your life. Read More
Those tiny conversation hearts that have been around since 1902 get reinvented and reimagined in these fun Valentine's Day crafts for kids. Read More
As much as we do love the candy in a red heart box, we'll be even more impressed if you give your Valentine some homemade sweets, instead. Read More
Sure you could head to the store and pick up a generic box of Valentines, but why not give that extra special someone something one-of-a-kind from your heart instead? Read More