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Meaning Behind the Valentine’s Day Symbols

Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Have you ever wondered why flowers, cards, chocolate and candy are given as gifts on Valentine’s Day? Or why a small, winged boy carrying a bow and arrow is this day’s poster child? Or how about why the colors red and white are associated with the Holy Day of Obligation day of love? Well, wonder no more:

• Flowers, specifically roses, are associated with love because in 18th century Europe the red rose was thought to be the favorite flower of Venus, the goddess of love.

• Cards are thought to be derived from an old pagan fertility ritual where young, unmarried men chose a single girl’s name anonymously out of a box to be their romantic match. Later, the tradition morphed into young Roman men sending greetings of affection to the women they fancied.

• Chocolate has been known to be an aphrodisiac since the time of the Aztecs.

• Pink, red and white: Pink is connected to St. Valentine, because it is said that on the day of his burial the pink almond tree blossomed; red is the color of passion and warmth; and white signifies purity.

• Cupid. This bow-and-arrow bearing god is the son of Venus, the Goddess of Love. Cupid is derived from the Latin word “cupido” meaning desire.


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