The colour red is one of the most powerful and striking colours in our environment. Red is used in our culture for everything from advertising to communicating danger. It is used for stop signs and traffic lights, to indicate a warning that it is too dangerous to continue. The idea of red communicating danger was also used in the Middle Ages also, when a red flag was waved by defenders of a town or castle to communicate that they intended to defend it, and a red flag hoisted by a warship signified that no mercy would be shown to enemies.
Image Source: Getty Images
Red has been associated with a range of feelings and emotions throughout history. For example, red has historically symbolised courage and sacrifice. So how did love come to join these other representations of the colour red? To return to historical representations, the Greeks and Hebrews considered red to be a symbol of love. One of the most popular works of literature in the Middle Ages was a 13th century French poem called Roman de la Rose (the Romance of the Rose). The poem was about the author’s search for a red rose in an enclosed garden, symbolising his search for the woman he loves. In terms of the history of St Valentine’s Day, the origin of our celebrations of love on this day has never been certain, but many believe that St Valentine was a Roman Catholic priest who was executed on February 14th in the year 269 AD.
Perhaps we are simply biologically predisposed to view red as a symbol of physical attraction and sexuality, a notion which has been emphasised by our culture exposing us to the red hearts and red roses so often prevalent around Valentine’s Day.
Regardless of the reasons for our associations with love and the colour red, it certainly would appear that red is indeed the colour of love.
Spoil those you love this Valentine's Day with an exquisite candle from our A Touch of Red collection.