By Daniel Jamroz
For any typical person, February 14 tends to be a special day every year that stands for something other days don’t. This is a day where you celebrate love with another special person. The love you have for another someone is best shown in gifts such as chocolates, cards, sweets, balloons, and but of course, roses. Besides the gifts, there is also the lavishing dinner dates out to a sushi bar or moderately expensive steakhouse where you can express your love to your significant other. Let’s not get too tied up with this occasion simply in America though.
There are plenty of traditions that take place around the world that can be duly noted. In the United Kingdom, for example, the tradition of sending anonymous love letters to crushes has taken place since Victorian days. In Estonia, the fourteenth of February is referred to as Friend’s Day rather than Valentine’s Day to not have single folks left out of all the fun and good tidings. Although this is the case, Estonians still traditionally ride on special love bus tours where they can meet other single travelers seeking true love. In France, arguably the most romantic country in the world, the fourteenth of February is seen as the best time for a marriage proposal. Charles, Duke of Orleans, had actually sent love letters to his wife in France while being imprisoned at the tower of London in 1415, which would give birth to the iconic Valentine’s Day card. In Italy, Valentine’s Day is a spring festival where people gather in gardens in order to recite poetry and perform music as couples stroll through the festival. Italian couples will also typically have romantic dinners and exchange gifts, which is where the interesting part comes in. The Italian tradition is the bigger the chocolate a loved one is offered, the stronger their love is believed to be. However, Saudi Arabia is the single country in the world where Valentine’s Day is banned. Officials of Saudi Arabia’s government claim that the celebration of such a holiday “encourages immoral relations between unmarried men and women.”
America, being a melting pot of many people and cultures has in fact molded many traditions of these countries over the years to create what people know today as Valentine‘s Day. The holiday has become so recognizable for its certain gimmicks such as “the day of chocolate“, “the day of love“ or “the day of the rose“. In the grand scheme of things one should consider the business there is in selling Valentine’s Day sweets. Russell Stover, a popular chocolate company notes that the less money a man makes, the more he is willing to spend on heart-shaped boxes filled with chocolates for their partners. The company explains that 60% of buyers are men and will buy, for example, a 40 dollar box of candy in order to settle the gift for his significant other. Men who make more money will generally buy their partners jewelry or take them out to dinner while spending a max of 10 or 20 dollars on chocolates. Russell Stover estimates to sell another 35 million heart-shaped boxes this upcoming year, 85% of which are sold on Valentine’s Day. Along with the chocolates come cards, balloons, jewelry, roses and galore. CNN had totaled up all the allotted money spent on Valentine’s Day this year. The total money spent on Valentine’s Day around the world was 18.6 billion dollars.
This may strike the question for many skeptics: Is Valentine’s Day about true love or really about capital gain?