Debunking Valentine's Day Myths
Feb 6th 2023
Posted by Dr. Christoph Streicher and Samantha A.
Valentine's Day is the epitome of love and romance, signified by gestures of sliver, roses, chocolates, and other gifts. It's a day set apart to make loved ones feel special with heartfelt expression. It's important to remember that there are plenty of myths out there regarding this romantic day. From stories about the origin of Valentine's Day to Valentine's Day superstitions and the idea that roses must be part of any gift-giving ritual — it can be tricky to navigate all these misconceptions! In this blog post, we’ll debunk some popular Valentine’s myths and superstitions by using therapeutic aromatherapy — so read on for more!
Myth: Valentine's Day was invented by greeting card companies
“Valentine’s Day only exists to sell greeting cards” — is the complaint of cynical exes everywhere. As it turns out, Valentine’s Day and Valentine’s Day cards existed long before commercialization. As the development of postal infrastructure in 19th century Britain increased, so did expressions of romantic love on Valentine's Day. This new-found freedom enabled Victorians to express risqué flirtation and "scandalous productions" through anonymous notes and tokens — though not without corporate interests attempting to capitalize on these traditions. By 1868 Cadbury had released chocolates in heart-shaped boxes, followed by mass manufactured greeting cards being introduced within Europe some years later before Hallmark started selling them for commercial use in 1913.
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Myth: Cupid is the incarnation of sweetness and romance
When it comes to Valentine’s Day iconography, no one is more popular than Cupid, the rosy-cheeked cherub. But he wasn’t always a chubby toddler in a loincloth. Cupid, the Roman incarnation of Eros in mythology, has been a subject of fascination since his first appearance in "Theogony" by Hesiod. With an ability to render both gods and mortals unable to resist him through sheer will power, Cupid is not someone to be trifled with. Classical artworks depict the god as beautiful, yet dangerous, proving this point. The archetypal story about Cupid — the ill-fated love between Psyche and himself – demonstrates just how powerful he was thought to be, giving libido a bad name from as early on as Isdore's 6th century critique labeling him a 'demon of fornication'.
As artistic expression evolved throughout the Renaissance, Cupid was depicted with his mother Venus in both emotional and physical contexts. Later during the Baroque period, he morphed into a cherub-like figure - no longer seducing love but instead provoking it through winged fat babies that were adored on Victorian Valentine’s Day cards. This redefined image of Cupid has since become an icon of innocence across cultures due to its ubiquity over centuries.
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Myth: Valentine's Day is pretty miserable for single people
Marie Claire and GQ may refer to Valentine's Day as a "deeply unpleasant" or even self-loathing experience if you're single, but being unattached doesn't have to mean being miserable. Psychologist Bella DePaulo suggests that the cultural stigma surrounding this holiday implies those in relationships are somehow better people than singles; however, couples don't actually own any kind of monopoly on happiness on February 14th. Singles can just enjoy celebrating their own unique identities instead — whether it be going out with friends for fun activities like shopping or at home relaxation such as a movie marathon accompanied by good food!
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Myth: Roses must be a part of your Valentine’s Day gift
For centuries, flowers have been used as a way of conveying sentiments that words cannot express. During the Victorian era in particular, floriography - or sending coded messages with bouquets and single stems - became an increasingly popular form of communication among lovers who were not able to share feelings openly due to restrictive etiquette. Red roses are perhaps the most enduring symbol associated with love and romance; they can be traced back thousands of years through mythology where goddesses related to fertility were often represented by this flower. Even today these fragrant blooms connote deep emotion across many cultures around the world.
Our relationship to the beautiful rose has been solidified in timeless myths and folk stories over the centuries. During the birth of the goddess of love, Aphrodite, the white rose is said to have sprung up and carpeted the sands beneath her feet. The red rose was created when Aphrodite lost her lover, Adonis. His blood and her tears mixed together and her white roses turned red. Aphrodite's rose remains the symbol of love. Lovers continue to send each other roses as symbols of love and desire. The extravagant visual beauty and the heady, sensual fragrance of the flowers have an emotional impact. Rose essential oil, with its phytochemical constituent, is absorbed into the body via the skin or the olfactory system. This is why the sale of red roses soars around Valentine's Day.
Aromatherapists have long prized the rose for its versatility - from aiding in emotional balance and libido enhancement, to treating skin inflammation. Furthermore, it has been used historically as a wound healer with an added bonus of being considered an aphrodisiac. The best place to learn more about Rose and its versatility would be to read our This or That article on Rose.
Final Thoughts from Dr. Streicher and the Amrita Experts
Hopefully, this article helped you debunk a few of the most commonly associated myths for Valentine’s Day as well as helped you find a perfect gift for a loved one (or even yourself!). Don’t forget to take advantage of the Valentine’s Day sale active now through February 14th, 2023.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.