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  • Michael L Bergonzi

Why Do We Pick Roses and Give Chocolates for Valentine's Day?

Valentine's Day is tomorrow; even if you don't have a significant other, love is still in the air. The aroma of dozens of flowers being ordered and sent from various flower shops in the Champaign-Urbana area to loved ones worldwide is filling our collective noses with a sweet and satisfying smell of happiness.

Andrea Hunt-Shelton

But why are flowers so essential to the holiday? CU Flower shop owner and designer Andrea Hunt-Shelton thinks that bouquets of roses are a thing of the past. More often people want a combination of designer flowers and roses.

They don't sell as many completely rose arraignments, says Hunt-Shelton. The ones that do sell tend to a combination of roses and stock flowers—ornamental plants perfect for bouquets, according to Their scientific name is Matthiola incana.

Love is an emotion, but crafting the perfect chocolates takes a certain amount of science as well as love in every step of the process. For Chinkondi Craft Chocolate in Savoy, they expect more of the usual to sell out. Truffles and boxes of chocolates have been a staple of the holiday for centuries. Often they go together like peanut butter and, well, chocolate

Red Roses from the CU Flower House

Did you know the tradition of giving someone a heart-shaped box of chocolates for Valentine's Day began in 1861? That's the same year the American Civil War began. A man named Richard Cadberry is cited as the first person to not only manufacture chocolates, but market them in a way similar to how we see them today in stores.

While chocolate has been in the Americas since before the colonization period (it's dated back to Mayans and Aztecs) in the form of Cacao beans—the key ingredient in making chocolate—the sweet taste that melts in your mouth after a period of time didn't become a thing until the 19th century. That is, when sugarcane and the beans became married in the western world and chocolate candy like a Hershey's bar became the image most people think of when they hear the word chocolate. of course, Hershey's bars weren't a thing until 1900. A full 53 years after J.S. Fry and Sons made the first chocolate bar with added sugar in 1847. Milk chocolate came about in 1876 when Swiss chocolatier Daniel Peter added dried milk powder to the recipe.

The commercialization of Valentine's Day may have started in the 19th century, but like Christmas, a lot has changed about the two winter holiday's origins. Perhaps the most well-known one is that Christmas used to be pagan holiday. That is, not part of Judeo-Christian religions.

Chocolate from Chikondi Craft Chocolates in Savoy

The combination of it and the birth of Jesus came about at the end of the 18th century (1700s) and not celebrated in America until the 1830s. The name Valentine was a common name for christian martyrs early in the religions's development, but the idea of him being the patron saint of love didn't come until 1382 when Chaucer wrote the poem Parlement of Foules in which the words Sent

Whether you're in love or already have a significant other in your life, Valentine's Day can affect anyone's wallet. It's the season of love. No matter who you are, where your from, we've all felt love of some kind. The flowers and chocolates are simply a bonus, even if they're for yourself.

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