Whether it’s love, hate, or sadness, Valentine’s Day is sure to rile strong emotions in individuals annually. Couples might spend a day finding out exactly why they love each other over a nice dinner, while single men and women might find solace in a carton of Ben and Jerrys. Couples that have been married for years could hate feeling obliged to buy something for their significant other every Valentines, while other people might yearn for a loving letter or card each Feb. 14.
On the popular subreddit, AskReddit, users were asked the question “How do you ACTUALLY feel about Valentines day?” The most popular post by user southparkfan1993 is a simple “Just another day.” Another user who claims to have been married 10 years says, “It’s a corporate holiday invented to sell cards. You wanna express me some love? Hand me some flowers or take me out for sushi on a day that you are not expected to do so. Otherwise, it’s just a guilt trip forced on us by a TV commercial.” In contrast, user Floppie7th says, “It’s a good night to go out to a nice dinner, just because a lot of restaurants are often running couple’s meal deals.”
Valentine’s Day is a difficult holiday to celebrate alone. According to the U.S. Census Bureau last year, there are approximately 115.78 million people who claim to be single, 47.3 percent of all US residents age 18 and older. The statistics help paint a picture of why the holiday is so polarizing.
So how does a holiday that appeals to one group and rejects another make so much money each year? A short look at the holiday’s history might reveal the reason.
The holiday is believed to have been celebrated since the third century starting with the Romans. The Romans’ version of the holiday was called Lupercalia, and it involved a three-day fertility celebration involving copious amounts of alcohol. The name “Valentines” came from the name of two men who were both executed on Feb. 14 on different years in the third century. The Catholic church honored the martyred men by celebrating St. Valentine’s day. Lupercalia and St. Valentine would go on to be combined by the pope during the fifth century. Throughout time, influential writers such as William Shakespeare romanticized the holiday.
Paper cards became a popular item to give to a loved one during the Middle Ages. Eventually, the holiday made it to the United States where it became commercialized and incorporated into the economy.
With the production and sale of products such as candy hearts, chocolates and cards, Valentine’s Day spending reached $19.6 billion last year, according to CNN’s Valentine’s Day analytics. This number can very well reach $20 billion this year. Other statistics include $4.7 billion spent on jewelry with 15 percent of Americans that buying gift cards. Almost $1 billion is reported to be lost to online dating scammers and “catfishers” over the past three years, according to a study by the Better Business Bureau.
Love it or hate it, celebrate it or ignore it, Valentine’s Day is upon us. Keep an eye out for any couple deals at your favorite places to eat if you’re celebrating the date. If not, watch for deals the day after for cheap candy.