The Grey Chronicles

2009.February.14

Of Roses, Chocolates, and Neurons


Today, all over the world, people are celebrating Valentine’s Day. Valentine was a third century Christian martyr of Rome. Thus, Valentine’s Day has a Christian origin. Most of us equate the day with the heart, in the WWW, emoticons tried to capture it with a sign <3. Enterprising ones even had a sign for a rose: @—->

Valentine Card

Valentine Card

At present, the martyr is seemingly defaced by the onslaught of commercialism. Valentine’s Day today is associated with flowers, particularly roses, and a box of chocolates. Another feature of this day is the exchange of greeting cards showing Cupid shooting arrows on red hearts. Whoever came up with the idea, either has a stake in horticulture or a distant relative of Willy Wonka, Milton Hershey or Hallmark. Or of Greek or Roman descendants.

Cupid, son of Venus, is the Roman name of Eros, god of love, sprung from Chaos or the son of Ares and Aphrodite. But what the hell is Cupid doing in this? Now we are seeing cherubims and angels shooting the same potion-laced darts or arrows to unsuspecting persons.

Legend has it that Cupid has a starring role on Valentine’s because of his deep love for Psyche, a mortal maiden whose beauty was envied by Venus. For more on Cupid’s story, see this site.

The cherubims and angels might be a Christian believer’s attempt to honor the traditional Valentine’s day, a commemoration of the martyr of Rome.

Photo courtesy PDPhoto.org

Photo courtesy PDPhoto.org

The rose represented beauty and love in the Greco-Roman culture. Sir Leigh Teabing says it symbolizes “the five stations of female life — birth, menstruation, motherhood, menopause, and death.” The redness of the rose, although there are other color varities, have been adopted as the color of this day.

Red is the color of life, i.e., human blood. Although most people believe that the brain is grey, probably because of our association with ‘grey matter’, a living brain is most likely colored red because blood feeds the living cells in it.

Courtesy of Dianne's Dishes

Courtesy of Dianne's Dishes

Chocolate is made from roasted and ground cacao [Theobroma cacao] seeds. Before 2000, the top five producers of cacao are Ivory Coast, Ghana, Indonesia, Mexico and Ethiopia. In itself, cocoa which is made from cacao powder is bitter. Cocoa is pulverized chocolate. The Aztecs are attributed to have concocted adding sugar and milk to make cocoa drinkable, and the world got hooked. Today, many believe chocolate is an aphrodisiac!

David Eisen (2009) wrote:

“Since the days of the Aztecs chocolate has been used as a gift. . . . On Valentine’s Day chocolate clearly says “I LOVE YOU!” . . . Chocolate has long been associated with passion, romance and love. This association may go all the way back to the Aztecs. They believed chocolate was a source of spiritual wisdom, incredible energy and elevated sexual power. Chocolate was widely used as a nuptial aid and was widely served at wedding ceremonies.”

Human Brain

Human Brain

Roses . . . Chocolates . . . Psychologists usually equate love with our hearts. Poets may have conspired that the heart is the seat of love. Scientist may disagree that it is the brain where all human feelings emanate. Our senses: taste, hearing, sight, smell, and touch, are ruled by whatever connections we had in our neurons, which are located in our brains. Thus, love might be said as a set of neuronic responses?

May your neurons fill you with love on this Valentine’s day!


Notes:

Eisen, David (2009). Why Chocolate for Valentine’s Day? Online: Ezine Articles, 19 January 2009. back to text

Disclaimer : The posts on this site are my own and doesn’t necessarily represent any organization’s positions, strategies or opinions.

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