Hello fellow readers, Do you recall Valentine’s Day traditions as a kid having to bring cards to school? It was an assignment. An obligation. One for each classmate. Cards came in assortment packs and, while the sayings were mostly about friendliness, which isn’t a bad thing, connotations of romance were sometimes there. How awkward it felt.
Valentine card assortments for kids haven’t changed much, based on a collection I came across the other day.
“You’re a Bear-y nice Valentine (a bear holding a heart).
“I dig you” (a skunk holding a heart).
As an adult, Valentine’s Day’s melancholy remains because it’s commercially driven, though the history as a day honoring the early saint named Valentinus is fascinating. Credit goes to English poet Geoffrey Chaucer in the 14th century for shifting the association of Saint Valentine’s Day to romantic love, a connotation that spread across countries and religions.
What rose colors mean:
When working in an office amongst other twenty-year-olds, I remember incoming flowers. It became a competition almost.
Receivers proudly displayed their bounty on their desks, as if touting that their somebody loved them more than another’s somebody based on their bouquet’s magnitude. But you can’t take it out on the flowers, primarily bouquets of roses or arrangements of assorted flowers along with roses.
Then there’s one red rose, the iconic symbol of “I love you” – the same meaning as a bouquet of red. So, you may as well save your dough and spring for a single red rose rather than a dozen.
Dark pink or peach means appreciation, Light pink- admiration, yellow – friendship, orange – desire, lavender – enchantment, white – “I am worthy of you.” White and red together – “we belong together.”
The tradition of giving chocolates
Then there’s the tradition of giving chocolates, far more enticing not being a rose person.
I find roses hard to grow, attracting a plethora of diseases and insects. I have two rose bushes from the previous owners. Each spring, I marvel over their shiny maroon new growth and consider tackling the upcoming pests. The idea quickly fades when aphids and black spot takes over. Even knock-out roses, introduced as “care-free,” are often riddled with rose rosette caused by a virus spread by dust-sized mites. But you can’t take it out on the roses.
Legend has it the Aztecs considered chocolate an aphrodisiac though it’s proven to elevate moods, much like falling in love. I wonder if the types of chocolates have a meaning. Perhaps white chocolate means “I am worthy of you,” too. Though dark chocolate, especially with nuts, is the most worthy of indulgence in my mind.
Rather than cut flowers that quickly fade, why not give the gift of growth and abundance, such as seeds for a vegetable or flower garden. But please don’t skip the chocolates, dear. Garden Dilemmas? AskMaryStone@gmail.com (and now on your favorite Podcast App.)
You’ll enjoy the story of The Beauty and Beast of Roses.
More about the History of Valentine’s Day
Column updated 2/14/21