By Sue Valentine
Each Feb.14, St. Valentine’s Day continues to be the day to signify true love for every age.
It’s supposed to be when people in love send their significant other a small gift or token to mark their true feelings — the staples of the ancient tradition being cards, chocolates, flowers or a small piece of jewelry.
It’s all a bit of a mystery how this special day came about. The earliest possible origin of St. Valentine’s Day could be the Roman pagan holiday “Lupercalia” to celebrate fertility. Men would strip naked, sacrifice a goat and then cut pieces of bloody hide from the poor animal to whip young women in order to promote their fertility. No denying it’s orgiastic.
Alternatively, the Catholic Church recognizes a temple priest named Valentine who was made a saint because he helped Christian couples wed. He got himself beheaded on Feb. 14 around AD 270.
Love is what we are supposed to be celebrating but it’s all gone slightly off-kilter. Modern, romantic notions of St. Valentine’s Day are quite different and measured in material value.
When I was young, St. Valentine’s Day was all about waiting for the postman to see what anonymous cards had been sent and guessing what young lads had sent them. Now it’s more about reaffirming a relationship. Where’s the excitement in that?
St. Valentine’s Day now is all about how much consumer spending will rise in 2019. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), it is a very lucrative occasion for the U.S. economy. The NRF estimates that this year, total planned St. Valentine's Day spending will reach $19.6 billion. This is the day each year florists, jewelers, chocolatiers, restaurateurs make a monetary kill.
Such a pity this modest holiday has grown ridiculously out of hand with the power of marketing and advertising. Marketing machines have taken over; luring more and more people into believing only the value of your love token can measure the depth of your feelings for someone.
Newspapers and magazines are guilty too. For weeks beforehand, they’re publishing articles on how to catch your man or woman, what to buy, what to eat or where to take your loved one for a romantic getaway.
It’s also very challenging for single people. What’s worse than being single on the most love-filled day of the year? They’re forced to look at the world through a mist of pink and red everywhere, like the greetings card aisle in your local grocery store for example. No escape for them.
So, whether you’re single, one half of a couple or just dating, celebrate love simply, never in terms of money.