The tradition of Valentine’s Day probably began sometime in the fifth century AD when Saint Valentine stood up against the Romans when they prevented soldiers from marrying.
Secretly bringing couples together, the legend goes that St Valentine fell in love with the jailer’s daughter, and was executed on February 14… later celebrated as Saint Valentine’s Day. Chaucer’s poem, The Parlement of Foules, a warm welcome to the spring, contains the first recorded connection between St Valentine’s Day and romantic love:
” For this was on Seynt Valentynes day,
Whan every foul cometh ther to chese his make “
Since 1382, the day has evolved to today become special to lovers and couples, and has become the perfect occasion to gift your significant other a thoughtful present or even take your relationship to the next level by proposing! The most common gift on Valentine’s Day for many years has been chocolate – a traditional and sweet gift to bring lovers closer together. Chocolate and Valentine’s Day are today nearly inextricably entwined, but that wasn’t always the case. When Christopher Columbus returned from the Americas, he brought chocolate back to Spain. Queen Isabella of Spain loved the flavour, and the delicacy soon became popular across Europe. Interestingly, this was in liquid form.
Up to the 1800s, the most popular form of chocolate was drinking chocolate, and many little chocolate houses were set up that competed with coffee houses as social hubs. In the 1800s, the Cadbury brothers prepared edible chocolate for the first time. In 1861, Richard Cadbury prepared a heart-shaped box of chocolates, decorated with cupids, especially for Valentine’s Day. This was perhaps the first commercialization of Valentine’s Day in England! Chocolates began to be sold in boxes that mirrored the grand clothes that Victorian women wore; layers of lace and crinoline. It became increasingly risqué for women to offer to share a taste with her beloved. Victorians saw chocolate as more than a delicious bon-bon; it was a declaration of love, and indeed of intent. A gift of chocolates from a man to a woman he was courting was tantamount to a proposal. A woman who gifted chocolates to a man, or who accepted chocolates from a man she was not expecting or interested in, was considered fast.
Chocolates were seen as an aphrodisiac by Aztec ruler Montezuma and a cure for Dementor attacks (intense depression) by JK Rowling in the Harry Potter series. Modern science has linked the chemical phenylethylamine in chocolate to feelings of excitement, attraction, and even pleasure, and there, therefore, may be some truth to this! Perhaps one reason why chocolate is such a great gift on the day of love?! Another reason why chocolate is so popular as a gift on Valentine’s Day is that women love the flavor! On days other than Valentine’s Day, 75 percent of chocolate is purchased by women; on Valentine’s Day, the trend reverses precisely. Dark chocolate is good for health, rich in antioxidants, good for cardiovascular function and full of fiber. Even moderate consumption of chocolate offers health benefits to young and old alike. So why not give the gift of health to your loved one this Valentine’s Day? The best part is, of course, that a box of chocolates can be delivered anywhere in the world in this day and age, making them great for long-distance relationships too. And sharing the treats around brings loved ones closer together!
Whatever the reason, chocolate has been going hand in hand with Valentine’s Day for centuries now. While trends show that today, alcohol is becoming an increasingly popular gifting option, chocolate will always maintain a space in the lover’s heart! Gifts like roses and cards stand out as well. Of course, there’s nothing quite like the personal touch… and when you’re choosing a gift for your beloved this Valentine’s Day, make sure you tailor it to their interests and passions!
meet mozaic wishes you a very Happy Valentine’s Day!