ART + CULTURE

RED HUES: HOW THEY SYMBOLIZE SWEETNESS AND EXCLUSIVITY OF VALENTINE'S DAY

Red candies represent sweetness, and red roses express one's exclusive love on Valentine's Day. Pick one, or both.

11.02.2022
BY JACKSON KEEFE
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With Valentine's Day just around the corner, you might be looking to give someone a more colorful and edible gift. If you're a candy addict, then you might be thinking about gifting red and pink candy instead of white or dark chocolate.

Starburst, a candy company, became known for releasing an all-pink bag of candy. Although it wasn't the first time that the company made candy with a pink or red theme, the products broke Twitter.

Aside from Starburst, other companies also capitalize on the hype around Valentine's Day by releasing limited-time products that feature only red or pink flavors. Some of these include Mike and Ike's Red Rageous, Life Savers' limited cherry flavored candy, and even Sour Cherry Peeps.

How red and pink become Valentine's icon
According to Charles Spence, a psychologist from the University of Oxford, color has a significant effect on how people taste. Decades of studies have shown that people tend to associate colors with taste.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by STARBURST (@starburst)

A study revealed that people tend to associate sweet food with red food coloring. Spence elaborates that red-colored food is considered to be 10 percent sweeter. Meanwhile, the opposite is also true for green food coloring. He said that people tend to associate sourness with green-colored food.

During the 1820s, red in candy was widely used to make it more appealing to children. According to Spence, infants tend to prefer sweet food over sour one. This leads to why we have so many red sweets to give away on Valentine's Day.

Red roses on valentine
Because of their romantic appeal and exclusivity, red roses are the most popular choice for Valentine's Day. According to Sara Cleto, Ph.D., a folklorist, people love red because of how it used to be an exclusive symbol.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by Fabienne Holighaus (@fabisrosen90)

"Part of this is probably because red dye used to be particularly expensive, difficult to obtain, and sometimes synonymous with royalty," said Cleto. "All these factors made red feel especially desirable and luxurious."

Although there are many varieties of roses, Samourai roses are the ones that stand out from the rest. According to veteran florist Sandra Varley, these are the most luxurious and intense red roses.

"It is the perfect intense red that oozes luxury, and the large petals are velvety in texture and are complemented well by the surrounding dark green leaves," she said.

Red hues convey sweetness and exclusivity for many people. The sweetness is perfectly expressed in chocolate boxes and candy products, while the exclusivity treads with Samourai roses.

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