Translating traditional Valentine's Day gifts
Monday , February 10, 2014 - 10:06 AM
Valentine’s Day is the notorious holiday for the expression of love through indulgent reminders of how dear and near to one’s heart others can be.
These little luxuries of love often include a small gift of chocolates or a bouquet of flowers, but do you really know what message you are sending with those sweet smells and tastes? Or are you as confused as Laertes when Ophelia starts rambling on about flowers (see Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” Act 4 Scene 5)?
Flowers have been important to many throughout the course of human history. They can represent many human attributes and convey mixed emotions. There are many different explanations of the meanings of certain flowers.
For all you sweeties, here’s an easy starter guide to flowers and their underlying expressions. This list comes in part from the websites www.thelanguageofflowers.com and www.theflowerexpert.com, and includes well-known flowers along with some that are less advertised.
White — innocence and secrecy
Red — love, respect
Coral — desire
Dark crimson — mourning
Dark pink — thankfulness
Pale pink — grace, joy
Pale peach — modesty
Lavender — enchantment
Yellow — joy, friendship
Rosebuds — youth and beauty
Full bloom — “I love you”
Leaf on stem — “You may hope”
Thornless stem — love at first sight
• Primrose — “I can’t live without you.”
This one rings with a new sense of clarity to readers of “The Hunger Games Trilogy,” as a main character bears the name of this flower.
Red — pleasure
White — consolation
Yellow — wealth and success
Red — “Believe me,” or declaration of love
Yellow — “There’s sunshine in your smile”; hopeless love
• Forget-me-not — true love, memories
• Daffodil — chivalry
• Daisy — innocence, purity
• Dandelion — faithfulness, happiness
Purple — wisdom, compliments
Blue — passion
White – purity
White — modesty
Orange — passion
Yellow — gaiety (happiness)
Lily of the Valley — sweetness and purity of heart
White — sweet and lovely
Pink — “I’ll never forget you”
Red — admiration
Yellow — rejection, disappointment
Solid color (reply) — “Yes”
Striped (reply) — “No”
• Cactus – endurance
As for chocolates, there is not much cultural evidence as to why this sweet is traditionally given out on this holiday. It may have been simply for the joy of the taste or the sweetness of the substance that implies feelings of the same measure.
Whatever started the trend, chocolates have become a mainstay in the American Valentine’s Day celebration. In “The Hidden Meaning of Chocolates,” an article written by Jessica Layne for the website www.allthingsnewengland.com, there’s a personality test using chocolate as a determination factor. Here’s a “taste” of Layne’s personality quiz, based on the type of chocolate or filling you prefer.
Milk — nostalgic, innocent
Dark — visionary, materialistic, problem solver
White — peacekeeper, fence straddler
Bitter — authoritative, respected, determined
All — social butterfly, hip, flexible
Almonds — friendly, an achiever
Caramel — dependable, steady, observant
Butterscotch — dependable, obedient, honest
Coconut — creative, passionate, dreamer
Cherry — energetic, passionate, exciting
Fudge — unique, visionary
Marshmallow — social, talkative, optimistic
Orange — spiritual, dependable
Peanuts — earthy, athletic, family oriented
With this information in hand, have fun this Valentine’s Day and spread the love with a full knowledge of what you are giving and receiving.
Sarah Stratford is a senior at Davis High School who loves cinematography and books. Email her at email@example.com.