Hearts and candies and flowers, oh my! During the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, red and pink hearts seem to flood the streets and the sweet song of love and romance buzzes through the air. Although by now celebrating these romantic symbols during February 14 has become second nature, it is not always clear as to why it resonates during this love-filled day!Read on for some fun facts on the history of the most popular Valentine’s Day symbol and learn why we still celebrate with them today!
There are countless theories out there as to why the heart shape we know today has become the symbol of Valentine’s Day. One of the most popular theories is the physical and emotional relation to the human heart. In fact, Philosopher Aristotle believed the heart was the center of emotions, a belief that is still prevalent today. The actual shape of the drawn heart we know today is rumored to be inspired by the female breasts and sexual organs.
Arrow in the Heart:
This symbol is thought to be a representation of man and woman. The image of the arrow piercing the heart has a sexual connotation, and is further reiterated by comparing the shape of both the arrow and the heart to the shape of a male and female body. This symbol also speaks to the vulnerability of love – the deadly arrow piercing the love-filled heart represents the risk you take when sending someone a Valentine.
One of the most popular and recognizable Valentine’s Day symbols is the god of attraction and desire, Cupid. Commonly portrayed as a chubby boy with wings, one shot with Cupid’s arrow and the victim is overcome with lust. Roman Mythology also describes this soldier of love as the being the son of Venus, goddess of love, making him the perfect candidate to be a Valentine icon. Cupid is sometimes also described as being blind or blindfolded because as the age old saying goes, “love is blind”.
The idea of sending Valentine’s Day flowers to your loved ones can be traced all the way back to the 18th century when Charles II of Sweden introduced Europe to the Persian custom of floriography, aka flower writing. Various flowers and flower colors were given individualized meaning and used as a nonverbal way to express feelings to the ones you love.
The colors most commonly associated with Valentine’s Day are red, pink, and white. Red is associated with romance, love, lust, and passion, making it the ideal color when choosing a gift for your dearly beloved. White represents purity and innocence – an ideal choice when shopping for Valentine’s Day gifts for children or family members. Pink is a combination of both of these colors, and represents affection and sweetness; choose pink when shopping for your closest friends!
It was commonly believed that February 14 was the day that Mother Nature invited birds to choose their mate. With a name like Love Birds, it’s not surprising that this bird breed is commonly associated with the romantic holiday.
Valentine’s Day Cards:
Did you know that about 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are sent each year?! That’s a whole lotta love! The oldest known Valentine, created in 1400, is still on display in the British Museum. As for the message inside? The statement “From Your Valentine” is rumored to have originated when St. Valentine sent his special someone a Valentine love note signed with this closing greeting.