It is that time of the year again. It is Valentine’s Day. Husbands and wives, boyfriends, and girlfriends will go into a frenzy trying to check all the boxes – chocolates, flowers, dinner, dazzle.
But what is the story of Valentine’s day? History is a bit unclear on it. According to some reports, there was a certain Saint Valentine who clandestinely got together couples and was persecuted for Christian beliefs. Other theories purport that it was originally a pagan festivity of fertility superseded by Christian tradition. Nobody knows for sure.
But that’s not the story. It is actually the story of how this day accounts for the single most sales of a company called Hallmark. It should actually be called Hallmark Day. Hallmark made Valentine’s Day what it is today – a day of unabashed consumerism and spending. There are interesting statistics making the rounds. We are expected to spend upwards of $140 on our special someone today. 25% of Americans will dine out on this day – this year is especially great for restaurants since it falls on a weekend followed by Presidents Day. 20% of flowers apparently are bought on this day with sales totaling close to $2B. Overall spending on Valentine’s Day will account for $20B – even higher than what was achieved on Superbowl.
But that’s also not the story either. Valentine’s day is the day couples put extraordinary pressure on each other to out best each other on making each other feel this is the most special day in their lives. Single people are unfairly made to feel like singlehood is the most unsavory of states to be in. Parents are compelled to outshine each other in the thoughtful gifts they conjure up for their kids friends.
But I think the real story is actually none of this. The story is that there is no story. This is just another day. A day like the other 364 in the year where we get a chance to show our love and caring for each other.
It is just another day where we go around closing all the cabinet doors that your better half left open in the throes of cooking, where you run to the grocery store to buy ginger so you can make tea for your loved one when he comes home. Just another day when you stop at the local market to buy jasmine flowers for your wife of 25 years, where you check your husbands pill box to make the weekly dosage is filled out. Just another day where you look up a youtube video to make a monster bookmark for your son even though you have no talent in the crafts, or collect all the art pieces made by your daughter to proudly display in your office cube.
So if you are planning something special on this day – by all means do it and have fun. But if you are not, do not fret. You have another 364 days to make your point.
Valentine’s day is the everyday and that is the story.