Valentine’s Day has a long and complex history. The holiday has its roots in ancient Roman times, when a festival called Lupercalia was held in mid-February to celebrate the start of spring. During this festival, men would draw the names of women from a box, and the pair would then be partners for the duration of the festival. In the 5th century, Pope Gelasius declared February 14th as Saint Valentine’s Day, honouring a Christian martyr named Valentine who lived in the 3rd century. The exact details of Saint Valentine’s life and death are unclear, but he is said to have been imprisoned and executed for performing marriages for Christian couples in secret during a time when the Roman Empire banned the practice.
Over time, the holiday evolved to become associated with romantic love. The tradition of sending love letters and gifts became popular in the 15th and 16th centuries, and by the 18th and 19th centuries, the holiday had become fully commercialized with the exchange of chocolates, flowers, and other gifts. Today, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in many countries around the world as a day to express love and affection for those closest to us.
The Modern Valentine
Valentine’s Day has become increasingly commercialized over the years as businesses have seized the opportunity to market products and services related to the holiday. The impact that Valentine’s Day has on the economy is incredibly permeating. In 2019, more than $20.7 billion was spent.
One of the key ways in which Valentine’s Day has become commercialized is through the mass production and sale of greeting cards. These cards, which range from mass-produced, pre-printed designs to handmade, personal creations, have become a staple of the holiday and are exchanged by millions of people each year. In addition to greeting cards, the holiday has also become associated with the sale of chocolates, flowers, jewelry, and other gifts. Retailers and florists often offer special promotions and sales in the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day, encouraging consumers to buy gifts for their loved ones.
Restaurants and other service-based businesses have also jumped on the Valentine’s Day bandwagon, offering special packages, deals, and romantic dining experiences to couples. The holiday has also become a big occasion for the travel and tourism industry, as many people plan romantic getaways and vacation packages to celebrate with their significant other. Overall, the commercialization of Valentine’s Day has made the holiday a big money-making opportunity for businesses, with billions of dollars spent each year on gifts, dining, travel, and other related items.