Did you ever wonder how Valentine’s Day got its start and when we started giving chocolates for Valentine’s gifts to those we love? Why do we symbolize love and Valentine’s Day with a heart, did you ever think about that? Most of us just take those things for granted. Every year we simply buy a card (called a Valentine) or a heart shaped gift box of chocolates to those we love or like a lot. Why do we do this?
Today, I decided to do some research. Even as the owner of a chocolate store, I did not have the answers to these question until now!
To begin have to go back to the 4th century BC. The ancient Romans held an annual feast called Lupercalia on February 15th. One of the festivities was to pair young men and women for a year, by a sort of ‘lottery.’ As you can imagine, this pairing event led to many marriages!
The ruler of the time, Claudius II, realized that the more marriages took place, the more young men did not sign up to be in the army. In addition, Claudius felt that men would be too distracted and could not effectively participate in battle if they were married or engaged. Being ever so wise, Emperor Claudius II simply banned marriages!
Along came a priest named Valentine. Secretly, Valentine performed marriage ceremonies. As a result of his defiance from Roman law, Valentine was put to death on February 14th.
In the middles ages, February 14th was said to be the day of “love,” for it was believed that birds mated on that day. The tradition started in the early 1400’s of sending “love letters.”
The red heart became the symbol and most people would create hand-made cards for their loved ones. By 1840, Mrs. Esther Howard got the idea to mass produce these cards and sold $5,000 worth. That would mean well over a quarter of a million dollars to you and me!
1840 marked another big year in history, it was the very first time chocolate was eaten!
I bet you do not know that prior to 1840, chocolate was consumed as only a beverage. The 1840’s brought Belgian chemists working day and night to combine cocoa butter sugar and flavors into chocolate so they may be pressed into molds.
By 1849 the Cadbury brothers got the recipe right and created the very first box of chocolates! In 1861 Richard Cadbury created the very first heart shaped box of chocolates to give the sweet taste of chocolate to people’s “sweeties.”
Chocolate has been associated with love. Did you know that chocolate contains the substance, phenylethylamine, which is the very same chemical produced by the brain when we are in love? We as human, love feeling love, so its no wonder that we can often turn to chocolate when we are not feeling love from a person!
Chocolate also contains more antioxidants and vitamins and minerals than any other food on the planet! Did you know that just a tablespoon of raw cacao powder contains the same amount of antioxidants as 6 cups of blueberries?
Oh, there is so much more I could tell you about chocolate! Why don’t I? If you would like a free download of my Law of Chocolate audio… click here.
This way you will be convinced that nothing makes people feel as special, as chocolate. Let me know what you think!
Remember, nothing feels as good as love. Do everything you can to show them you love them…and don’t forget the chocolate! Happy Valentine’s Day!