Juggling all the aspects of my life with some baking, writing and good old fashioned ranting thrown in

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Romantic tradition or forced consumerism?

Today is Valentine's Day. A day which seems to spark far more controversy than one might think of a celebration of romance and romantic love. From personal experience, people seem to fall into four categories on this subject:

  • There are those who insist that their partner spend an immense amount of cash on gifts and dinner in an expensive restaurant. 
  • There are those who like to give their loved one a small, thoughtful gift and perhaps have some quality time alone, perhaps to have a nice dinner. 
  • There are those who resent being forced to show love for their partner on a particular day. These people often deliberately choose a different day to have a romantic dinner and exchange gifts as a protest to the official Valentine's Day. 
  • There are those who believe the entire celebration to be simply based on card-making, flower-selling, chocolate-manufacturing corporations (run, of course, by the forces of evil) wanting to make lots of money. These people tend to make a lot of noise about their opinions and are often met with rolling eyes from those in the other three categories. 
Personally, I fall into the second category. I hand made the Other Half a card and, using the power of the internet, have given him a lovely book of photographs of us over the years, complete with little captions of my memories associated with each picture. Well thought out and, I think, appreciated. The Other Half, although appreciative of my efforts and willing to buy a little something for me, seems to fall into the third category. He doesn't seem to like the idea that romance is scheduled, which I can understand. Romance should, perhaps, be spontaneous. But I see nothing wrong with it being scheduled for just this one day of the year. And maybe our wedding anniversary. 

The other point that nobody seems able to agree on is where Valentine's Day originated and where the idea of giving cards and gifts comes from. Some think that St Valentine must have been some very romantic character. Some think that Valentine's Day is an entirely invented event to boost sales of roses and cards. So I did a little research. According to Wikipedia, St Valentine had no connection to romance whatsoever but he was martyred on 14th February, hence the celebration being on that date. St Valentine's Day gained it's romantic connection when Geoffrey Chaucer wrote a poem on the subject in the 14th Century. The concept of giving greetings cards, flowers and confectionery began in the 15th century. So I think its fair to say that its a pretty old tradition. If you need further proof that Valentine's Day wasn't invented within the last few decades in order to get some more cash out of the romantic people of the world, the picture at the top of this post is a Valentine's Card from over a hundred years ago. 

Aside from the historical facts, I like Valentine's Day because I simply think its a nice idea. In the same way as Mother's Day reminds us to be grateful for our mothers, Valentine's Day reminds us to be grateful for our loved ones. As with most things, throwing money at the occasion kind of misses the point, I think. If you're going to show real appreciation and gratitude to your partner, surely you need to put a bit of thought into it? You must be able to come up with some nice sentiments for the person you love. If you're really against spending money, jot it on a post it note.  

1 comment:

  1. Don't wait for Valentines day to send flowers as forced consumerism, send them when you really want to shower your special someone you care Bouqs has all flowers for one price including delivery.