Apart from a brilliant commercial gimmick that does wonders for the sale of flowers, candy and other items that is suppose to promote the feeling of love and being loved, I wonder how many people actually know what this day is really about.
For starters – do you know that this day is suppose to be about St. Valentine – the patron saint of love who secretly conducted marriage ceremonies at a time when marriage was forbidden by a king in order to staff his army. The so called Saint Valentine was martyrd for failing to adhere to the king’s edict. However, history tells us that the above is NOT true. There are at least 14 St. Valentine in historical record and none were even remotely associated with anything romantic. Sure there are stories but none supported by historical facts.
Valentine’s day became popular towards the end of the 17th century. Valentine – paper and otherwise started to be mass produced towards the mid of 18th century. Since the mid of 19th century, Valentines day, was the forerunner of all the other commercialized holidays that will come to be celebrated. In the middle of the 20th century, the practice of exchanging cards expanded to include chocolates, flowers and yes, even diamonds.
So what we have now is a billion dollar industry that thrives on sappy romance to which we happily give in to because we love those cards with words that are being shared with a million (if not a billion) other people around the world. We love the heart shaped chocolates with all sorts of fillings or no fillings. The bouquet that the florists manage to conjure up and the fine dining that affords us guiltless indulgence – after all everyone loves to be loved 🙂