Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day, Love & Commercialism

So, it's Valentine's Day and as usual all the flower stands have popped up on the side of the road, florists are advertising like crazy and the TV is still full of advertisements for jewelry as it has been for the last few days. The above video, not surprisingly, was even in the news. That is what Valentine's Day has been reduced to. A commercial, money grabbing excuse to show someone you love them. Silly me, I thought you did that every day in the little things you do to make each other's lives easier. I thought it was something you do because the person you are with makes you happy and content. I thought, perhaps foolishly, that you show someone you love them *every* day - not just February 14.

A bit of a history lesson, thanks to Wikipedia:

Saint Valentine's Day, often simply Valentine's Day,[1][2][3] is a holiday observed on February 14 honoring one or more early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine. It was first established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD, and was later deleted from theGeneral Roman Calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI.
The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. By the 15th century, it had evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as "valentines").[1][3]
Modern Valentine's Day symbols include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.[4]

Chaucer's love birds
The first recorded association of Valentine's Day with romantic love is in Parlement of Foules (1382) by Geoffrey Chaucer[20]Chaucer wrote:
For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make.
["For this was Saint Valentine's Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate."]
This poem was written to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia.[21] A treaty providing for a marriage was signed on May 2, 1381.[22] (When they were married eight months later, they were each only 15 years old).
Readers have uncritically assumed that Chaucer was referring to February 14 as Valentine's Day; however, mid-February is an unlikely time for birds to be mating in England. Henry Ansgar Kelly has pointed out that Chaucer could be referring to May 2, the celebration in the liturgical calendar of Valentine of Genoa, an early bishop of Genoa who died around AD 307.[23]

So Valentine's Day wasn't even about romance until the 15th century and even then people were content to share flowers, confectionary (chocolates) and a card. Now? Now its flowers, jewelry, chocolates, gift cards, pamper packs, dinners and concerts and the like. If you simply got your partner a card, nowdays, you would seemingly be cheap or 'not in the spirit'. I personally would rather receive a hand made card like they would have back in the 15th Century than a prepackaged Hallmark special. I am pretty sure Hallmark wasn't around back then.

Please do not misunderstand me, I am a hopeless romantic. I am the girl who leaves a post it note on the cereal box because I had to go to work before you got up, or who leaves a love letter on your pillow just because you were on my mind and I wanted you to know. Sure, when I am in relationships I make the effort on Valentine's Day but even then, the effort is contained and within the spirit of old school romance, not this commercially driven sales gimmick that is just chasing as much $ out of me as it can.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone - just remember to show those you love how you feel *EVERY* day, not just today. Buy flowers and chocolates, take the time to make a card or at least write a hand written original message instead of the preprinted commercial crap not just today, but any day, because the people you love deserve it, are worth it, and are worth being shown they are loved on more than just one money grabbing day.

No comments:

Post a Comment