by: Miranda Rester
While many people believe Valentine’s Day is just a ploy to force men to spend loads of money on chocolate heart-shaped candies, bouquets of bright red roses, and over-priced singing cards, Valentine’s Day traditions began in ancient Roman times. In these times, Valentine’s Day wasn’t about how much money you spent but about reminding the one you love that he or she meant everything to you.
Most guys would argue that the only way to show a girl how much you care for her is to shower her with gifts. However, the ancient Romans showed their affection a bit differently. At the fertility festival Lupercalia, boys would slice the hide of a sacrificial goat into strips and slap girls in the face with it. This tradition was thought to make the girls fertile, so they appreciated the gesture. Now, I’m certainly not suggesting that guys should just go around swinging hunks of goat at the objects of their affection; however, this tradition was meaningful to the ancient Romans. It wasn’t expensive or over the top either.
That’s what Valentine’s Day is. It’s not about how much someone spends on a gift; it’s about how much the gesture means. Who decided that guys have to buy flowers and candy for Valentine’s Day, anyway? Yes, flowers are lovely, and chocolate is tasty, but they don’t exactly scream “I love you.” Any sane girl would rather have a guy actually put thought into what he does for Valentine’s Day instead of generic flowers and heart-shaped chocolates. Because while to men that may seem perfect, to me it says “Hey, I didn’t feel like putting any thought into this, so I’m giving you the most meaningless gift I could come up with.”
Yes, Hallmark certainly has cashed in on Valentine’s Day, but that’s only because people stopped putting thought into what the holiday means. I think that once everyone, men and women alike, begin to focus on using Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to express love, then the world will be a better place.
by: Nathan Maxwell
We associate most holidays with some fabricated mythological being. For Christmas, we’ve created a gelatinous man with a beard full of cookie crumbs, a craving for milk, a group of flying reindeer, and a pair of open arms for little people who enjoy making toys. For Easter, we’ve created a towering bunny with the urge to leave eggs around your yard for you to find and clean up and a wardrobe that’s vibrantly blinding. No one has ever seen either of them, but we allow both of them free entrance into our houses while we are sleeping. And for Valentine’s Day, we’ve created yet another gelatinous man. This time he’s wearing a diaper and a pair of wings and wielding a bow and arrow to strike someone with the feeling of love.
Besides the ridiculous icon, it’s just a day for Hallmark to make billions of dollars on cards and other small gifts. In 2011, Americans spent $15.7 billion on loved ones for Valentine’s Day. An average of 144 million cards are exchanged each year for Valentine’s Day. That doesn’t include the children’s boxed Valentine’s cards; that $144 million is just the sentimental stuff. The only holiday that outdoes Valentine’s Day in terms of cards is Christmas.
Hallmark’s been cashing in on Valentine’s Day since 1913. That’s almost a century of tricking us into buying their cards. Don’t think that we are the only ones who celebrate Valentine’s Day because we’re not. Valentine’s Day is also celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, Australia, Denmark, and Italy. Imagine the money spent on this day in those countries on top of our $15.7 billion.
Hallmark isn’t the only one making profits. Florists, candy makers, and chocolatiers are making money, too. Almost 198 million roses are produced to be sold for Valentine’s Day. 75% of those, 110 million, are sold in the U.S. Valentine’s Day’s candy sales are only second to Halloween. As for chocolate, an estimated 58 million pounds is expected to be bought for Valentine’s Day. A total of $345 million is expected to be spent on candy and chocolate.
There is no way that Valentine’s Day is legitimate. It must be a collective effort by Hallmark, florists, candy makers, and chocolatiers around the world to bring in the profits. They’ve done a great job of creating such as successful holiday. I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.