The History of the Color Red and Valentines Day

Around the 16th century, a story goes that a very bored French Queen decided to create a game in order to entertain herself. She gathered all the men and women in her court and gave them each tasks to carry out. Men were asked to write poetry and songs, and bring chocolates and red roses to the women. On the other hand, women would dress in their finest clothes, and stain their lips and cheeks a shade of red and sing complimentary words to their men. The Queen called this- the game of love. Eventually, these little practices of chivalry in love are what we now call the modern day romance.

If you look back at the game played by the French Queen, the color red seems to be a recurring detail, red roses and red lip stains. But the question still stands, why is red so significant on Valentine’s Day?

For so long, the color red was said to represent the blood red of the beating heart, and that heart was the ultimate symbol of love. In Edmund Leighton’s painting God Speed, a lady gives her knight a red token of love as if to say that my beating heart will always be yours even when we are apart. Today red tokens come in various forms, such as a ruby ring, red rose and even red fluffy pillows.

Despite being a token of love, the color red also holds a deeper more sacred meaning. In this case red being the symbol of “vaginal blood”. The blood of intimacy was seen as the definitive point of sacrifice in love. Dr. Fangfang Wen wrote in her new book, “Evolutionary Psychology” that when women choose to wear red they “are reflecting their sexual intentions from the beginning”. Deemed a sacred point in a woman’s life, most Eastern countries like India and China, the bride wears red sarees and cheongsams to mark the beginning of her sexual life.

Modern day science has proven that the color red has psychological effects on the human mind. Psychologically wearing red boosts your confidence, allows you to make bolder choices and instantly makes a woman seem more vibrant, cheery and approachable. In return, this makes a man perceive a woman to be warm, compassionate and competent when she dresses in red. The color of love has also been highly associated with blushing or blood rushing. When a person is attracted to another, it is said that chemical reactions take place in the body causing the heart to pump faster and causing your cheeks to turn a rosy red. So if you wear red on Valentine’s Day, it means your blood is rushing for someone special.

Red with its irresistible charms and secret meanings is the perfect color for the day of love. As complicated the whole idea of love is, wearing red helps point out if one is ready to accept love into one’s life. Red is the color of the beating heart, the ignition of sexual desires and the ultimate sacrifice of love, making it the best option for Valentine’s Day. So next time you’re looking for something to wear, push through the series of black and head straight for red!