Rating Sweethearts: A new take on an old Valentine’s favorite

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With February 14 slowly approaching, people worldwide are looking forward to Valentine’s Day festivities. A day devoted for people to express their affection to each other, Valentine’s Day usually involves exchanging heartfelt gifts. One such gift is a box of Sweetheart Candies, also known as conversation hearts.

When people give a box of conversation hearts to their loved ones on Valentine’s Day, the intention is usually to show that they care about them. “It’s like a small gift that can brighten up someone’s day and make them feel appreciated,” said senior Nisat Nosin. Junior Cora-Grace Sagario agreed, saying, “I think it’s a cute gift to show your love for someone – whether or not it’s in a romantic sense.”

SweetHeart candies have been produced and sold since the early 20th century and are still a part of Valentine’s Day tradition today. The consistent demand for the heart-shaped candies begs the question: what was so popular about candy hearts in the first place — the sweet taste or the heartfelt message?

Candy hearts, according to Nisat, “kind of taste like nothing.” She added, “I could compare them to year-old candy that you forgot about in your Halloween bag.” Sophomore Sally Zheng agreed, saying that candy hearts pretty much have no complex flavors. “They taste purely like hard sugar,” Sally said. 

Freshman Emily Daza shared a different experience with the candies. “The ones I’ve received in the past are a combination of a sour and sweet grape taste, like Nerds candy,” she said.

Each Sweetheart candy is inscribed with a special message for the recipient. These messages are generally optimistic and filled with texting lingo. Nisat receives these candies on Valentine’s Day, and the best message she has received on a conversation heart was “You rock.” These short but meaningful lines boost the giftee’s mood and show them how much their admirer cares about them.

Nisat said the intention behind the gift is most important. “There are probably better tasting candies out there that you could [give], but what makes candy hearts special is the thought that goes behind them,” she said. Many students believe that the purpose of the hearts is significant, but others believe otherwise. Cora-Grace enjoys the candy itself rather than the intention. She said, “I enjoy eating sweet treats and any sweet candy I get, I’ll eat it.”

As February begins, many Harrisites are thinking about Valentine’s Day and who to celebrate this special day with. Giving Sweetheart Candies is a great way to show your admiration for your family, friends, and loved ones and let them know that they are cherished and treasured by you. “Regardless of whether the candy tastes bad or not, it’s the fact that this person thought of me…that makes the concept of candy hearts a little more special,” Emily said.

Artwork by Annie Park

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