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Valentine Gifts and Gift Ideas: History and Meaning of Valentine's Day Gifts

Natalie Aranda

When trying to come up with Valentine's gift ideas, most people do not stop and think about where the holiday actually originated.

Most scholars agree the Valentine's Day began in ancient Rome. The most widely accepted story has to do with Saint Valentine. Valentine lived in Rome during the 3rd century. During that time, Rome was ruled by the Emperor Claudius who attempted to make a volunteer army for Rome. However, he was quite disappointed when the number of men who signed up was less than he expected. He believed the reason that men did not want to fight was because they did not want to leave their wives and children. In order to preserve his army, he placed a ban on marriage throughout Rome.

Valentine was a priest and he did not agree with the law, so he continued marrying couples in secret. Eventually he was caught, imprisoned and sentenced to death. He had many supporters while in prison, including the daughter of the prison guard. Legend states that on the day he died, February 14th, Valentine left a note for her thanking her for being there for him. He signed it, "Love from your Valentine." Most people do not realize that they are giving a Valentine's Day gift on the day that Valentine himself was killed!

There are some Valentine's gift ideas, particularly when it comes to flowers, that have a deeper meaning. The color of flowers which you present as Valentine's gifts for her can show her how you really feel. For instance, the classic red rose is a symbol of romantic love. If you give someone a purple rose, this means that you fell in love with them at first sight. Yellow roses mean friendship and joy, while coral and orange roses can symbolize desire. Valentine's gifts for a woman can also include jewelry which has been advertised since the 1980's by the diamond industry as the gift of choice to show that your love will last forever.

In Japan and Korea, Valentine's Day is celebrated by women giving men chocolate or flowers. Women who work in offices will give chocolate to all of their male co-workers, as well as their male friends and boyfriend. Men are not expected to give women anything on Valentine's day, however, they will often give presents to those who gave something to them on March 14th. In Korea, the tradition continues on April 14th, when men who did not receive any gifts gather together and eat noodles in black sauce. This day is called "Black Day."

Next time you buy a box of heart shaped chocolates, perhaps you will think about the way Valentine's Day was celebrated in ancient times and today around the world.


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