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Lovely expressions...

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Valentine’s Day is a fun and fascinating holiday surrounded by history and legend. Learn how our modern Valentine’s Day traditions came to be, and show how much you care throughout the year by giving our sweet, downloadable ‘love notes’ to all those special people in your life.

The Gift of Love: Giving Valentine’s Day gifts to loved ones is a time-honored tradition that goes back to the holiday’s humble beginnings as an ancient Roman celebration of romance on February 14. Valentine’s Day remains the most romantic holiday, and we love to celebrate it in a big way. Over $13 billion is spent each year on Valentine’s Day gifts and cards, a figure that continues to grow.

Why we Blush: Heartfelt expressions of love can cause blushing, that sudden flushed feeling and reddening of our face and neck. A uniquely human trait, blushing is an involuntary action that can be triggered by embarrassment, happiness or surprise. Expanding capillaries send a rush of blood to the surface of our face and neck, producing that reddish ‘glow.’

Straight to My Heart: Ancient Egyptians and Romans wore rings symbolizing love on the same finger we wear them on today because they believed the vena amoris (vein of love) ran from the fourth finger on the left hand directly to the heart. Valentine’s Day is also among the most popular days for marriage proposals.

Roses are Red: Red roses have sparked romance since ancient Greeks and Romans identified the fragrant flower with Aphrodite and Venus, their goddesses of love. The romance with roses is stronger than ever with more than 189 million of them given as expressions of love on Valentine’s Day each year, making it the leading holiday for fresh cut flowers. Long stem, red roses are most popular because they symbolize passion and true romance.

Baby’s Breath: Baby’s Breath, the delicate white flower widely used in Valentine’s Day flower arrangements, is actually considered a weed. It was first introduced in North America as a garden ornamental plant in the late 1800s.

Love Struck: Love is always in the air when Cupid’s arrows fly, but especially on Valentine’s Day. Legend has it that anyone pierced by an arrow shot from this chubby cherub’s bow will fall madly in love. Cupid’s arrows are said to be tipped with diamonds, enhancing the precious stone’s popularity among couples.

Forget-Me-Not: Frilly lace and ribbon that we often see decorating cards and Valentine gifts today are romantic symbols from the days of King Arthur. Love-struck maidens were known to give gifts of ribbons and frills to knights so love would stay in their hearts as they traveled far away to defend their country.

Romantically Decadent: Chocolate is a sensual treat that’s been associated with romance since Spanish explorers brought it to Europe from the Americas in the 16th century. This favorite indulgence now rivals flowers as the most popular Valentine’s Day gift. It’s heart-healthy, too. Recent research has revealed that a small amount of dark chocolate may help reduce blood pressure because it contains a variety of healthy antioxidants.

Sweetheart, Sweet Tooth: Remember when your heart fluttered back in grade school after getting a few Conversation Hearts from a secret admirer on Valentine’s Day? That first brush with romance continues today, as the tiny heart-shaped candies stamped with romantic messages remain the most popular Valentine’s Day candy. Over 8 billion of the sugary love notes are produced every year with new sayings like ‘Email Me’ to help keep messages current.

Love Takes Flight: The term ‘love birds’ sometimes used to describe newlyweds or a couple deeply in love comes from the discovery that some birds like doves mate for life and often serve as symbols of virtue and true love.

Bear Hug: The tradition of the lovable stuffed teddy bear is said to have started when U.S. President Theodore ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt rescued a bear cub in 1902. Today, millions of cuddly teddy bears are sold worldwide for all occasions, but Valentine’s Day bears remain the most popular.

Be my Valentine: We enjoy expressing our love on Valentine’s Day with elaborate cards and simple notes, a tradition that became popular in England some 500 years ago. The U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that Valentine’s Day is now the second largest card-sending holiday with one billion cards sent worldwide each year (the winter holiday is the first).

Young at Heart: Valentine’s Day cards are most commonly associated with romantic couples, but children under 11 years old exchange 600 million Valentine’s cards each year with family members, classmates and teachers.

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