Exeter, Devon UK • May 23, 2024 • VOL XII

Exeter, Devon UK • [date-today] • VOL XII
Home Comment The commercialism of Valentine’s Day

The commercialism of Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day: the holiday plonked in between Christmas and Easter to help us forget that it is cold and grey. Valentine’s Day splits us into two groups. Those of us who are secure in the knowledge that we will be spending the holiday with that special someone, and those of us who aren’t. Loved up or not you will inevitably end up buying something from the aisles of pink and red that pop up in supermarkets; from piles of chocolates to toys and flowers, no one is safe.

Even when single I find myself picking at least a small something for a friend so we can celebrate Valentine’s Day together, whether it is a card, some flowers, or just a crate-load of chocolate and wine for us to plough through together. The main problem with Valentine’s Day is that it makes us focus on the material aspect of relationships rather than our genuine love for each other. What says romance more than a three foot high teddy bear?

No one wants to give their significant other dying roses to save a few quid

Americans spent $19.7 billion on Valentine’s gifts last year, so it is easy to see why so many companies invest in it. You can’t watch TV in the weeks running up to the 14th without seeing love-themed jewellery, card and food related adverts. Indeed, red roses go up in price in the days before Valentine’s Day, and there is nothing you can do but shell out the money. No one wants to give their significant other dying roses they bought a week early to save a few quid, and cheap, post-Valentine’s day roses don’t really say “I care about you”.

Valentine’s Day was originally introduced to celebrate the execution of St Valentine while he was trying to help the persecuted Christians escape from Rome. Before he was killed he is said to have written his love a letter signed “from your Valentine.” It’s a shame that a story of such sacrifice and nobility has been reduced to a commercial ploy to squeeze some extra money out of the loved up and lonely.

For many Exeter students, Valentine’s Day will be spent this year watching the rugby 1’s playing at Sandy Park, and while a few of my friends can’t go thanks to promises made to significant others, I for one will be welcoming a most unromantic Valentine’s Day.

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