Let’s converse about why Valentine’s Day is the original capitalist holiday
Is there a single holiday free of consumerism dirt? The short answer is “no” – yet some holidays were deliberately created to be capitalized on. Is Valentine’s Day one of them? Well-known greeting card company Hallmark began creating Valentine’s Day cards in the early 20th century. The practice of exchanging cards on Valentine’s Day, however, dates back much further.
The origins of Valentine’s Day as a holiday dedicated to love and romance can be traced back to ancient Rome: the Lupercalia festival was held in mid-February, at which young men drew the names of young women from a box and paired off for the duration of the festival, sometimes leading to marriages. We’re talking about the ancient Love Island!
In the Middle Ages, the Christian church attempted to co-opt the pagan holiday by declaring the February 14th feast day of St. Valentine, the Christian martyr executed on that day in the third century. Over time, the holiday became associated with love and romance, and the practice of exchanging cards and gifts became increasingly popular.
How Valentine’s day as we know it is an American capitalist invention created to drum up business
As we mentioned before, in the early 20th century, Hallmark recognized the commercial potential of Valentine’s Day and began producing cards specifically for the day. The company’s first Valentine’s Day cards were simple, featuring images of hearts and flowers. But as the practice of exchanging cards became more popular, Hallmark ramped up the elaborate designs and sentimental messages.
Today, Valentine’s Day is one of the most important holidays for the greeting card industry, with millions of cards exchanged (and pollution created) each year. Despite its roots in ancient history and the Christian church, the holiday has become a secular celebration of love & affection – and Hallmark’s cards played a significant role in the day’s commercialization, manipulating emotions for monetary gain.
The number of Valentine’s Day cards bought yearly has fluctuated over time, but it remains a significant part of the holiday’s commercial appeal. According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated 145 million Valentine’s Day cards are purchased annually in the United States alone.
This figure represents a decline from previous years, as the popularity of digital communications has eaten into the traditional market for physical greeting cards. However, Valentine’s Day remains one of the most important holidays for the greeting card industry, and companies like Hallmark and American Greetings continue to produce a wide range of cards for the occasion.
Despite the rise of digital communications, however, many people still prefer the personal touch of a physical card, and the demand for Valentine’s Day cards remains strong. From simple and sentimental to elaborate and humorous, Valentine’s Day cards continue to be an important way for people to express their love and affection for those closest to them.
How Valentine’s Day creates unrealistic expectations for normal people’s finances
The average price that a couple pays for Valentine’s Day gifts can vary widely depending on a number of factors, such as the type of gift, the location, and the couple’s budget. That being said, according to recent surveys and studies, the average amount spent on Valentine’s Day gifts is around $100 to $150 per couple.
Common Valentine’s Day gifts include flowers, chocolates, jewelry, clothing, and dining out, and the cost of these items can vary depending on the quality, brand, and location. In addition, some couples may choose to give more unique or personalized gifts, such as experiences, handmade items, or sentimental keepsakes, which can also vary widely in cost.
How curated ideals of happy relationships drive people to unhappiness and despair
Ultimately, the amount a couple spends on Valentine’s Day gifts is a personal decision. This can be influenced by a range of factors, including their budget, relationship dynamics, and cultural expectations. For this reason, further, than demonizing Valentine’s day, all we have left is to celebrate critically and choose our gifts as consciously as we can.
Might this Valentine’s Day be an opportunity to converse about romantic unrealistic ideals and awaken towards capitalism laying between your loved one(s) and you?