February 14th is Valentine's Day. For most women, it's a day they are gifted with bouquets of red roses as well as bright heart-shaped boxes filled with an array of delectable chocolates. Did you ever wonder why chocolates and red roses are the classic gifts for Valentine's Day?
Well, chocolate, which is made from cacao beans, began its inception more than 3000 years ago in Latin America. The Maya grew cacao trees, and realizing there was great value in the beans, used them as currency and also for trading. They also made a wonderfully rich, frothy drink from crushed cacao beans mixed with water and spices. In their culture this chocolate drink was considered a luxury only the rich could afford. Otherwise, it was primarily used in their religious rituals. The evolution of chocolate did not stop there once it had made its way across the oceans of the world. By the end of the 18th century when courtly love flourished in the Middle Ages, it was commonplace for a wealthy aristocrat of the court to profess his love for his chosen lady by indulging her with a gift of flowers and a goblet of the exotic drink made with powdered cacao beans. To also mark the occasion, the lovers would send each other greeting cards decorated with lace, ribbons, and hand painted depictions of cherubs and hearts. These greetings had come be known as valentines.
As to why red roses and Valentine's Day? Red roses are fragrant, long lasting, and for many considered the most beautiful flowers in the garden. Roses embody the classic symbol of love and romance. A single red rose in all its simplicity means I love you.
So I've just given you a small bit of background information about the origins of Valentines, chocolates, and roses ... but did you know that roses of different colors reflect different sentiments?
A light pink rose implies happiness
A gift of a yellow rose denotes friendship, not
A lavender rose conveys love at first sight
A white rose represents truth and purity.
A peach-colored rose indicates appreciation and gratitude
A pink rose says, "Thank You" and is also associated with the fight against Breast Cancer.
An orange rose
Happy Valentine's Day