Overview of our gift ideas for Valentine's Day
Joie de vivre
Three red roses with praline hearts
The patron of lovers was a priest who suffered a martyr’s death at the hands of the Romans on 14 February 270. At that time, Valentine had incurred the wrath of Emperor Claudius II, who wanted to do away with marriage. The emperor was of the opinion that married men made abysmal soldiers as they did not want to abandon their families. Claudius, who feared nothing and no-one, abolished marriage. Valentine encouraged young, engaged couples to come to him to have their marriage blessed. He was arrested and imprisoned. While he was in prison and awaiting his execution, he fell in love with the daughter of his prison warder and gave her her eyesight back. Shortly before he was beheaded, he gave her leaves in the shape of a HEART, on which were written: FROM YOUR VALENTINE! (Is this why we say love is blind and you lose your head?)
Even before the Valentine’s day tradition started, there was a pagan festival in mid-February: the Roman Lupercalia festival. On the occasion of this festival, adolescents had to undergo a rite of initiation. Each young man received the name of a young girl for a whole year. In the year 496, the pope forbade this festival, as it was misogynistic. He established Valentine as the patron of lovers and 14 February as his feast day.
In Roman mythology, Cupid is the god of love. He is personified as a young, scantily clothed man with a bow and arrow. It is believed that, if one of his arrows touches you, then you will fall head over heels in love with the first person that you meet.
The most important colour associated with Valentine’s Day has traditionally been red, but pink and white are equally important. Red symbolises devotion and faithfulness as well as passion – white is the colour of purity. – pink is a soft, gentle colour. Since 1920, it has also been considered a colour for girls.
The rose: Another strong symbol associated with Valentine’s Day is the rose. This flower represents love. More especially, if you give or receive a red rose, it signifies passion.
The heart: the heart is the symbol of love. In a metaphorical sense, you give your heart to the one you love, which means that you trust him or her with your life. This possibly explains the excitement you feel when you feel loved and your heart ”is fit to burst”.
Nowadays, chocolate is a favourite choice to offer as a gift. Why? Some are of the opinion that this is no coincidence. Researchers have actually found out that there is a hormone for desire, the desire for love, phenylethylamine, and that it is also present in chocolate.
Cards with flowers on Valentine’s Day
When the attraction of the Lupercalia festival was abolished, young Romans assumed another, much more romantic trait. They gave the woman of their dreams greeting cards as a sign of their love. The oldest card that is known was sent by Charles, the Count of Orleans, when he was being held prisoner in the Tower of London. He sent his wife a card with a love poem written on it. In the 19th century, postal delivery became a faster and more affordable means of communication, so greetings were sent by post. It then became possible to send anonymous cards, even quite permissive ones. In some countries, they even became obscene, resulting in this practice having to be banned.
The "XXX" to send kisses
When you write these “XXX“ at the end of a love letter, you’re possibly not aware that this is a tradition dating from the start of Christianity, when the X represented the cross, the symbol of faith. For a long time, a cross also served as a signature as only a few people were able to write. If you write an X, then by way of oath, you had to kiss the cross. From this kissing of the cross, X became the symbol for kisses..