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Valentine’s Day is the most romantic day of the year – a time when people all over the world shower their loved ones with gifts and affection.
Many other countries celebrate their own version of Valentine’s Day. In Argentina, the celebrations last for an entire week! Known as Sweetness Week, kisses and sweet treats are exchanged with loved ones.
In Romania, the celebration is called Dragobete: “The day the birds are betrothed”. It’s a celebration of Valentine’s Day and the beginning of Spring. Traditionally, flowers are picked in the forest as gifts.
In South Africa, it’s traditional to pin the name of your crush on your sleeve for all the world to see – sometimes, an anonymous card simply isn’t enough!
Origins of Valentine’s Day
The special day is closely linked with Italian culture, dating back to the third century AD, when the notorious Roman Emperor, Claudius II, made it illegal for young men to marry. This was for purely selfish reasons, as he believed single men made better soldiers in his army, as they had less to lose in battle.
When the Christian church objected, Claudius persecuted Christians too, but a young priest called Valentine felt the law was unfair and risked his life by performing Christian wedding ceremonies in secret.
His act of defiance was discovered and Valentine was thrown in jail, where he befriended a jailer, Asterius. In a miraculous act of Christianity, Valentine restored the sight of Asterius’ blind daughter through healing and praying.
As a result, Asterius became a Christian and Valentine’s friend. Some versions of the legend say Valentine also fell in love with Asterius’ daughter.
On 14th February 270AD, before being executed for his crime in presiding over Christian wedding ceremonies, he wrote an emotional letter to Asterius and his daughter, signing it, “Your Valentine”. Legend has it that this led to the tradition of celebrating Valentine’s Day every year and sending cards.
Why do we send flowers?
Traditional Valentine’s gifts include chocolates and jewellery, but we also send cards and enjoy romantic activities together, such as going out for a meal for two.
We spend a fortune on celebrating Valentine’s Day – statistics released by the US National Retail Federation reveal a staggering $18.2 billion is spent worldwide on Valentine’s Day each year! Some $2 billion is spent on flowers, with more than 250 million additional roses being grown especially for the big day.
In the UK, £262 million is spent on flowers alone on Valentine’s Day, with red roses being the most popular gift. Around 75% of British men buy their loved one flowers on the big day, while 25 million greetings cards are sent across the nation.
We send our loved ones Valentine’s Day flowers as a result of a historic custom to send bouquets that contain a non-verbal message. The practice began in 18th century Sweden when each flower had a special meaning. This meant people could have an entire, intimate conversation, purely through sending flowers.
The tradition continues today, with the red rose in particular signifying romantic love. It is the main bloom sent on Valentine’s Day.
Other Valentine’s flowers
Other flowers are sent on Valentine’s Day to those important people in our life. The choices will cover every type of love on the spectrum.
According to tradition, sending a mixed bouquet of pink oriental lilies and white freesia is a way of admitting Cupid’s Arrow has struck you – but you’re wondering if the recipient feels the same way about you.
You can send an arrangement of blue irises and stargazers to a loved relative, such as mum or grandma, particularly if they are a widow, just to remind them that they are very much loved and that you’re thinking of them.
Send a pretty arrangement of daisies to your best friend, whether they’re single or not, to remind them how fabulous they are and how much you treasure their friendship.
When it comes to romance, Valentine’s Day is the time to mark the next stage of your relationship, according to women – as 22% of them believe it’s the best time to receive a proposal from their partner. However, they may be disappointed, as the majority of men would prefer to propose at Christmas!
Storing and transporting flowers
With the ongoing popularity of flowers as gifts, and the boom in orders for special occasions such as Valentine’s Day, the correct storage and transportation of fresh flowers is crucial to ensure they remain fresh and fragrant when purchased by the customer.
Cut flowers are expected to last seven days or longer in the home. This is an amazing achievement in itself since flowers are transported further than ever before to satisfy the customer markets. Flowers sold in retail stores may already be up to 10 days old if they have been shipped a long distance.
They may be stored before being processed into bouquets or other arrangements, so they must be transported and stored in low-temperature containers to ensure they stay fresh for as long as possible.
Flowers and leaves are between 70% and 95% water, so keeping them hydrated is the key to freshness. Humidity is also important and a humidity count of 80% can help to extend their life by a further eight days.
While being stored or transported, flowers can suffer a loss of carbohydrates and sugars that are essential for the normal functioning of their cells. During growth, flowers will store sugars that they will consume during storage and transportation.
Using flower feeds helps to replenish the lost carbohydrates, while keeping them in cold storage temperatures will slow down the sugar consumption rate. Keeping the flowers cool is also the best way of preventing hormonal changes, which can lead to yellowing of the leaves, wilting of the flowers and buds and a short vase life.
Cut flowers must be put in a cool temperature as soon as possible after cutting to preserve their lifespan. While flowers have been grown in a sunny garden, a cool temperature afterwards is a critical factor in ensuring they will bloom fully and live longer in the vase.
1COLD Ltd provides a range of temperature-controlled environments for clients throughout the UK. If you require effective cold stores for flowers, or for any other perishable product, give us a call on 01564 702 269 for further information about our products and services.