The Story of Saint Valentine

Every February 14, across the world, people exchange candy, flowers, and gifts all in the name of St. Valentine. But who was Saint Valentine, and how did he become associated with this ancient rite?

The history of Valentine’s Day–and the story of its patron saint–is shrouded in mystery. We do know that February has long been celebrated as a month of romance and that St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition.

According to one legend, the holiday celebration of the Priest Valentine, who served in third century Rome. When Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage for young men because he decided that single men made better soldiers. Than those with wives and families, Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied the Emperor and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Claudius discovered the treachery, Priest Valentine was put to death.

According to another legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” an expression that is still in use today.

Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure.

History

Valentines Day didn’t come to resemble the modern day of love until the Middle Ages when the holiday began to definitively celebrate romance. VDay greetings became popular during this period, but written messages didn’t surface until after 1400.

The first Valentine’s Day card ever is believed to have been written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, who was imprisoned in the Tower of London. He wrote a message of love to his wife after his capture at the Battle of Agincourt.

By the middle of the 18th, it was common for friends and lovers of all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes, and by 1900 printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine’s Day greetings.

Today, approximately 150 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually, making Valentine’s Day the second most popular card-sending holiday after Christmas.

The Tradition Today

The traditions of Valentine’s Day are observed all over the world. 

Valentine’s Day cards and gifts such as flowers, chocolates or jewelry convey love messages, and many choose to share a romantic Valentine’s activity to celebrate their love.
Long associated with lovers, Valentine’s Day is also a popular day for marriage proposals and weddings. Many choose to follow a traditional Valentine’s theme by celebrating at a romantic location and incorporating poetry, flowers and music reflective of their personal story.

Whatever the Valentine’s Day celebration planned, featuring well-known symbols helps to create a romantic atmosphere. 

The red rose is a traditional symbol of love and passion and has appeared in paintings, poetry, and songs for hundreds of years. Sending a single red rose on Valentine’s Day is usually understood to mean ‘I love you’. 

Heart shapes are featured on wrapping paper and gift boxes and are often used for special cookies or cakes. Red and pink flowers with love messages are a popular Valentine’s Day gift and red roses are usually considered the most romantic.

Regardless of how far in advance you’ve planned out your Valentine’s Day gift, luxurious flowers are always a must on this most romantic day of the year. At J’Adore Les Fleurs we have every arrangement you need to express your love. Our flower delivery service will hand-deliver your flowers right to your Valentine’s door on February 14. Browse through JLF Valentine’s Day Collection to shop for the perfect Valentine’s Day fresh flowers to shower your Love with the flowers they deserve and to leave a long- lasting smile on your sweetheart’s beautiful face.

Flowers as Relationship Binders

“What surrounds us, controls us,” they say. What if we or the ones we love controlled what that ‘something special’ is— what gets to control us. Perhaps one would choose to be hemmed in by the lively presence of gaudy flowers, or in the peaceful arms of nature, while birds chirped away.

Whatever that ‘something special’ is, we can easily recognize that somewhere in that peaceful image or aura, are flowers— setting the scenery with a radiant tone of romance, passion, and emotion.

The way one sees it, flowers serve the energetic means of self-expression, of feelings— they are relationship binders or means of strengthening the connection between two people.

Setting a precedent

Whether it’s a first date, a proposal, a celebration or ‘just because,’ partners often use flowers to show that they care about their person, which in turn sets a pleasant precedent implying that making them feel special is a priority- something that they will both enjoy. This won’t only make the partner feel special, but it will also give a deeper ‘validation’ about the relationship. Furthermore, it will remind the receiver of happy days, even during times of hardship and struggle.

Flowers don’t only serve as materialistic gifts, but it’s the simple thought of somebody thinking of you when they’re not around you. These beautiful creations send across a certain synergetic dynamic of what it’s truly like to be cared for, thought about, and loved.

When they’re missing

 It’s a common occurrence to see that as a couple gets more grounded in a relationship, the flower-gifting lessens. Male counterparts go from sending flowers for monthly anniversaries and any-event-possible, to perhaps a birthday bouquet, to replacing flowers with other material things— less meaningful for us.

 The interesting thing is, partners, don’t actually find the same significance in flowers that women do. Some may say that they don’t see a reason in giving flowers, because they’re temporary and don’t live long enough to serve as a reminder of love or affection, but rather send a message of momentary joy.

 What they don’t understand, however, is that flowers are a metaphor for the bittersweet experience of being alive ourselves. Flowers don’t signify impermanent amusement but are a reminder for us to learn to enjoy and cherish the little-individual moments in our lives, and the lives of the people we care about. It is easily arguable that no other gift can so deftly convey sentiment and emotion, beyond the power of words, and no other gift can linger in our minds longer than the thought of beautiful flowers in our arms.

But the thing is...

Like everyone, as a relationship grows, the couple does, too. They delve into the craziness of daily lives, their encounters. The priorities shift from ‘impressing’ to ‘growing,’ to ‘expanding,’ so seemingly important things become of less significance.  

Women show their appreciation for their partners in the sense of emotional and physical care, constant attention, and through other care-vehicles, so when they receive flowers, they are reminded of the sweet feeling of being appreciated. Likewise, receiving flowers, remind them that among all things, their relationship is of high importance. A simple arrangement  an hint at all the internal and external feeling one holds towards their lady love.. they suggest of impactful memories.. they bind relationships.  

It is easy to get lost in time and lose touch with what was once an important aspect of a relationship, but it is just as easy to keep these traditions alive by investing creative thought into making someone feel special with the presence of a JLF Signature Box of Flowers– an epitome of romance, passion, and emotion. 

Author: Marian Sahakyan
Photographer: @annasphotoart

Flowers and Allergies

It’s a woman’s (and occasionally a man’s) favorite thing- being gifted flowers- smelling and seeing them, being surrounded by them. More often than commonly noticed, these flowers become problematic. They take one’s breath away. Not in the romantic or amorous manner, but quite literally- in the form of allergies.  

Imagine being on the other side of things-  as the one gifting the flowers. Ultimately, what was initially a good deed, a sweet surprise, can turn into a perfectly failed scenario. But what if you knew exactly what to avoid and what to pick up for that special someone, who just happens to have allergies!

To clarify some of those concerns, without compromising on the look or charm of the bouquet, here is a compilation of flowers to avoid and others that can replace them.

 Worst: Daisies and Sunflowers 

Despite their simple yet attractive presence, daisies and sunflowers are known to be among the worst when it comes to pollen activity, meaning that they produce and release too much of it. According to Allergyware.com, the pollen flies from “male” flowers to fertilize the “female,” which makes sure that more ‘flower bloom’ can occur. As a result, this irritant activates allergies for those who are sensitive.

Best: Carnations and Daffodils

To replace these beautifully plain options, one cannot go wrong with carnations or daffodils. With their vibrant colors and lively tones, these two are sure to make any bouquet pop, emphasizing their fun and exciting energy.

Worst: Chamomiles and Dahlias:

Effortlessly alluring and sure to decorate any bouquet with love, asters, chamomiles and dahlias are also known to make allergy-sufferers, suffer. While these are all pollen-rich flowers and are the main group known to cause allergies, fragranced flowers like jasmine and lilacs are also to be looked out for.

Best: Roses, Peonies, Orchids, Tulips

Exchangeably, roses, peonies, orchids or even tulips are an allergy-free and eloquent addition to any bouquet, as they are deemed suitable for any occasion. 

Worst and Best: Lillies

 The beautiful lily is another suitable choice for allergy sufferers if the pollens are removed.  Since allergens are typically found in a plant’s pollen, not having the substance is a major plus. While you can’t remove pollen from some lilies, many lilies contain pollen that can easily be removed. Asiatic lilies come in gorgeous pink, red, orange, and mixed colors, making it both hypo-allergenic and a sight for sore eyes. However, Oriental lilies such as Stargazer lilies are very fragrant, people either tend to adore their intense fragrance or really can’t abide it. Sensitivity to the smell may cause a headache.

 Today’s flower market is booming and blooming with options, but being considerate of allergies and other health concerns is just as thoughtful as is the initial idea of gifting flowers. So the next time you’re out searching for that special bouquet for someone, think about allergies and possibly avoiding an unpleasant situation, simply by picking the right bouquet. 

Author: Marian Sahakyan

The Gift of Giving

We live in a flower-giving-culture. Thoughtfully and sometimes thoughtlessly, we give flowers —when a baby is born, when someone graduates or succeeds in something. We give flowers to someone to make them feel special, we also give them during times of uncertainty, commemoration and death. The thought that flowers have established a strong presence in the cycle of life is justified through personal and historical testimonies. 

 

It is unknown when humans first started giving flowers to one another, but we know that it occurred with the hunter-gatherers, when the ‘hunter’ surprised the ‘gatherer’ with a handpicked bouquet to celebrate the day’s meal. This suggests that even then, gifting flowers was a means of communicating a special sentiment, which grew to be a tradition among cultures. 

 

Despite the noticeable evolution of customs since the times of hunter-gatherers, we learn that the message behind giving flowers has remained the same. Celebration, they say. 

 

Celebration of life: The ancient Greeks anointed the beginning of a child’s life by giving flowers after their birth. They believed that flowers were associated with Gods and by gifting flowers, they were declaring a strong and prosperous life upon the newborn. 

 

Celebration of growth: We give flowers when someone succeeds professionally or educationally or when they embark on an adventure. Perhaps this, too, signifies the celebration of improvement and advancement. 

Celebration of growth: We give flowers when someone succeeds professionally or educationally or when they embark on an adventure. Perhaps this, too, signifies the celebration of improvement and advancement. 

 

Celebration of love: Significant others have offered flowers as an expression of appreciation and thought for ages. For example, they were an effective means of message delivery during the Victorian times, when etiquette dictated discretion and that was everything.

 

An admirer could present a young woman with a bouquet that included a red tulip, and this would be his declaration of love and interest in her. Since then, we have replaced the red tulip with a red rose, which epitomizes all that love and passion capsulize. 

 

A celebration of life: What about using flowers in the event of one’s death. Regardless, funerals are not a happy time to be celebrated, what’s the role of flowers in this? 

The tradition of incorporating flowers at a farewell service has been around for centuries, but now plays a role different than its original. Previously, they were used as a means of covering the unpleasant odors of a decaying body. 

Nonetheless,  societies advanced and so did their techniques of deodorizing dead bodies. This is when the practice of embalming came about and replaced the use of flowers for smell. Now, flowers simply shed light and beauty among the heaviness of a funeral. They encapsulate comfort, love, sympathy and respect.

Regardless of the occasion—-happy or sad— flowers are everywhere. Their presence is often overlooked, but their absence is heavily noted. Above all, their cheerful and delicate essence reminds us of our own beautiful significance in the world.

Author: Marian Sahakyan

June Birth Flower: Rose

June birth flower is the rose. Its sweet fragrance and timeless beauty of the rose announces the beginning of summer like no other flower. The name “rose” is derived from the Latin word rosa. Roses have been cherished for their beauty and fragrance for centuries.

ROSES IN HISTORY

Most people believe that roses were first cultivated around the Caspian Sea or Gulf of Persia millions of years ago. The ancient Greeks and Romans identified roses with love and passion beginning with their association with the goddesses Aphrodite, Isis and Venus. Cleopatra is said to have received Marc Anthony in a room filled literally knee-deep with roses.

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May Birth Flower: Lily of the Valley

May birth flower is the lily of the valley. According to ancient mythology, the May birthday flower was under the protection of the son of the goddess Maia. For the Greeks this was Hermes and for the Romans it was Mercury. Another legend tells of a lily of the valley who fell in love with a nightingale’s singing, and only bloomed when the bird returned to the woods in May. The lily of the valley is mentioned 15 times in the Bible. Over the centuries, the lily of the valley has developed many meanings. The fragrant white flowers are often associated with traditional feminine values such as motherhood, purity, chastity and sweetness.

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Easter Flowers

Easter is full of many customs, traditions, and symbols that we borrow from Christianity and the ancient world. Easter celebrations are filled with pastel colored flowers, different colored eggs and hopping bunnies that come to us from the ancient spring festivals. All these symbols represent fertility, new life, and rebirth. Easter flowers are also fitting emblems for this time of year with their soft, delicate petals and sprouting young buds.

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