Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Tidbits about Valentine's Day compliments of Kokopelli's blog

Valentine Angel $75

Be Mine Valentine $60

Loved this post about the history of Valentine's day via Kokopelli foods blog. I have sold their wonderful beans and more in my pottery shop for many years.

Thank you for this history. Maybe now I will stop complaining about Valentine's Day to my wonderful husband who does not like to celebrate holidays with me. Some of these customs are very interesting.
I used to make special pots for this holiday but it does not actually seem to be a very popular day for pottery sales. is some info anyway.

Valentine’s Day is celebrated on February 14th by many people throughout the world. Couples exchange gifts and cards to express their love and devotion to one another. Worldwide, the most popular gifts are candy, flowers and jewelry. In the U.S., heart-shaped boxes of chocolates and red roses are the most common.

• The first heart-shaped box of candy was sold in 1868 by Richard Cadbury. Chocolate has long been considered an aphrodisiac. The Aztec emperor Montezuma drank ground cocoa beans to increase his sexual prowess. In Mesoamerican marriage ceremonies, the couple shared a ritual cup of cocoa, which was believed to increase their luck in love.

• The red rose was thought to be the favorite flower of Venus, the Roman god of love and the father of Cupid. He is known as a mischievous, winged child, whose arrows would pierce the hearts of his victims causing them to fall deeply in love. He is prominently featured on boxes of chocolates created for Valentine’s Day.

The U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately one billion valentines are sent each year worldwide, making it the second largest card-sending holiday of the year, behind Christmas.

• The oldest known Valentine's Day card is on display at a London museum. This card was sent in 1415 by the Duke of Orleans to his wife in France. The Duke was imprisoned at the time in the Tower of London.

• Exchanging Valentine's cards most likely began in America as early as the 1700s. The first mass-produced Valentine's Day card was sold in the 1840s by Esther Howland, a Massachusetts native. She originally sold hand-made, lace cards for as much as $35 per card!

In Japan, the present custom that only the women give gifts to the men on Valentine’s Day was originated by a Japanese confectionary company. The traditional gift is chocolate, and is given by the woman to all of her male friends & acquaintances, including superiors and co-workers. There are two levels of gifts:

• Giri-choko (“obligatory chocolate”) is given by the woman as a token of friendship or gratitude to her male co-workers, superiors and friends. It isn’t unusual for a woman to buy and hand out one dozen or more boxes of chocolates on Valentine’s Day. It is thought that a man’s popularity can be measured by the number of chocolates that he receives on this day; however, this can be such a sensitive issue that some might not comment on it unless assured that it will not be made public.

It is expected for woman to give chocolates to their male co-workers. The unpopular co-workers will receive the chō-giri choko (“ultra-obligatory” or “cheap chocolate”).

• Honmei-choko (“favorite” or “true love chocolate”) is given by the woman to the man she loves, or is truly serious about. Usually, the “favorite chocolate” is given along with another gift such as a necktie.

One month later, on March 14th, the men are obligated (thus, the name “obligation chocolate”) to give gifts to all women who gave them chocolates on Valentine’s Day. March 14th is known as White Day – gifts include marshmallows or white chocolate, or candy in white boxes; the term refers to the color of marshmallows which was the type of candy originally marketed for this day. The recipients of giri-choko are expected to return a gift of at least equal value to each woman from whom they received chocolates.


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