Valentine’s Day – meaningful or commercial?

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Valentine’s Day. The one day of the year we’re supposed to dedicate to our significant other.

Although the history of February 14th goes all the way back to Roman times, nowadays it seems to just be about roses and cheesy cards.

Is the ‘romantic day’ now just another reason for big companies to rake in even more money?

While it is important to appreciate that many couples love celebrating Valentine’s Day, we should also recognise that some couples just don’t want to.

People put this down to a number of reasons; you should show love to your partner every day, it doesn’t mean anything, it’s a waste of money and it’s just a ‘Hallmark tradition’. While these are all valid reasons, whether or not people choose to recognise this ‘special’ day is completely up to them.

However, in recent years it seems that more pressure is put on people to perform romantic gestures and spend money on extravagant gifts.

Social media and advertising are likely to be the main cause of this. In 2016, Valentine’s Day generated an estimated £980mn in the UK… that’s a lot of chocolate and Pandora bracelets.

If you’ve ever shopped online, you will have online retailers bombarding you with gifts at the best possible price. This also applies if you’ve made an online dinner reservation as restaurants have joined in with the e-mail promotions.

Of course, this is great because us Brits love a bargain but the abundance of promotional e-mails for the Valentine’s Day haters must be ridiculously annoying.

Companies like Pandora, Ann Summers and Lush are among the many which put out special Valentine’s Day collections each year in order to satisfy – or put pressure on- their customers whilst raking in a lot of cash.

The film industry also utilises this day, with chick-flicks often being released on or around February 14th. These movies are usually themed around Valentine’s Day. This just intensifies some people’s desire to have a romance that is straight out of a movie – however unrealistic and disgustingly expensive that may be.

Age also seems to be a factor in whether or not people are interested in Valentine’s Day. Barclaycard found that 49% of people aged 55 and over plan their special day only a week in advance. Meanwhile, 40% of under 24’s plan two weeks or more in advance.

This could be largely due to the influence of social media on younger people, with many feeling the need to live up to the standard of what they see online.

Barclaycard also found that men spend 49% more than women. This is potentially because flowers, chocolate and pricey earrings are stereotypically for women and the list of ‘masculine’ equivalents is miniscule.

It seems to be that the meaning of Valentine’s Day often gets lost in all of the consuming and conforming, so it is understandable that some people choose not to buy into it.

Whether you’re celebrating Valentine’s Day this year, boycotting it or embracing being single with your friends, have fun!

Image source: Creative Commons

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