* Lolita De Abreu: Second year BA Language and Culture student.

Valentine’s Day, A Money-Making Scheme

BY LOLITA DE ABREU

When one thinks of Valentine’s Day, more often than not, what comes to mind is one’s partner, red roses, chocolates and maybe even one’s closest friends. Love is not the only thing in the air when it comes to Valentine’s Day.

For the commercial sector, I get the feeling that all they can smell in the air is money! So is 14 February a day of love, or is it just another money-making scheme disguised as a chubby baby with wings and a bow and arrow?

If you break it down, Valentine’s Day is just a regular day with a price tag slapped onto it. If you are waiting for 14 February to roll around to actively show love towards your partners, then your idea of love is slightly missing the mark. As cliché, as it sounds, being in a relationship with someone, should mean loving them every day. Not just one day of the year.

The true meaning of love seems to get lost in the Valentine’s Day hysteria every year. It becomes less about the traditional view on love and more about a newfound materialistic view. According to BusinessReport, trends reveal a 35% increase in purchases of cosmetic gifts and flowers from FNB Credit Cardholders during this time of the year.
It seems as though the famous saying “the way to one’s heart is through the stomach” proves true for South Africans, as restaurant visits see a 30% increase on Valentine’s Day.

A report like this excludes credit card trends from other banks as well as cash purchases. So to think about the amount of money that is really being spent on one “holiday” is quite astonishing.
It is also reported that during the week leading up to Valentine’s Day, florists see their biggest increase in sales of the year, which can be as high as over 200%. So what does spending all this money on your partners have to do with how Valentine’s Day originated? The answer is nothing. The origins surrounding Valentine’s Day seem to be unconfirmed.

However, it remains consistent that it blossomed in the 14th century, during an annual festival, where men and women would be coupled off through a lottery. Other legends reveal that the day is named after St. Valentine who married off men and women in secret, to pardon husbands from the war. After thinking long and hard about this particular day, I have concluded that Valentine’s Day is no different to the personal celebration of an anniversary with one’s partner, and has, therefore, become another burden to the already strained student budget.
Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against Valentine’s Day. I love any excuse to celebrate.

However, if you ask me whether or not I think it is a money-making scheme, my answer would be yes. Everyone expresses love in different ways, be it through gifts or something more sentimental. However, I do believe everyone can benefit from steering the holiday further away from the greedy hands of the commercial sector and closer towards a more sentimental approach.

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