4. Pink, red and white. Pink is connected to St. Valentine, whose burial was said to have caused the pink almond tree to blossom. Red is a symbol of passion, warmth and the color of the heart. White symbolizes purity—it's purification those naughty pagans were celebrating, after all.
5. Cupid. The mischievous winged cherub is the Roman God of Love and the son of Venus, the Goddess of Love. Cupid is derived from the Latin word "cupido" meaning "desire"—which your lover should be bursting with on V-Day after you've bestowed him/her with the aforementioned goodies.
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There you have it. Now all you cynics know that Valentine's Day wasn't actually invented by card and chocolate companies. We've been celebrating it pretty much the same way for centuries, with cards, presents, and heaps of either love or bitterness, whichever side you're on.
We stuff ourselves during Thanksgiving, wear ugly sweaters come Christmastime, and ring in the New Year with a champagne toast. That's just how it's done. Similarly, ever since we were in pre-kindergarten, cards, flowers, chocolate and—depending on your luck—that One Special Person have marked Valentine's Day. While the days of those little cardboard Disney-princess Valentine's Day cards may be over (remember Martin's "I choo-choo-choose you" for Lisa on The Simpsons?), there are still traditions we practice. But do you know why Valentine's Day is the way it is? Like 'em or loathe 'em, here we explain the holiday's most popular traditions. Valentine's Day Traditions Around the World
1. Chocolate. We all know chocolate is an aphrodisiac. It contains an endorphin called phenylethylamine, levels of which in the brain have been linked to falling in love. Chocolate has been used as a gift since the days of the Aztecs, who believed it to be a source of spiritual wisdom, energy and higher sexual prowess. It was used as a nuptial aid and served at wedding ceremonies. How could the Aztecs be wrong? They invented the stuff, after all, along with popcorn and universal education. Be Good To Your Heart With… Chocolate
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2. Roses. February 14 is like Black Friday for florists, accounting for 32 percent of annual sales. But why are flowers associated with love? Apparently, in the early 1700s, Charles II of Sweden brought the Persian poetical art known as the "language of flowers" to Europe. Throughout the 18th century, ladies loved their floral dictionaries, which listed the symbolic meanings of different flowers. The red rose was believed to be the favored flower of Venus, the Roman Goddess of Love, and has come to represent romantic love. And so, giving red roses on Valentine's Day became the thing to do. Why Do Flowers Make Us Swoon?