According to Statistics Canada, as of 2019 there were over 15 million couples and 12 million single Canadians. Whether you’re in a committed relationship or living the single life, there’s a good chance that you’re still expected to buy someone a gift for Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day is celebrated on Feb. 14 in many different countries around the world. The day is meant for people to express their love for others whether it be a partner, parent, friend or classmate.
The love is spread by exchanging cards, gifts, flowers and candies, causing Canadians to spend roughly $37 million on the most romantic day of the year.
Eighty-three per cent of Canadians believe that there is too much pressure placed on Valentine’s Day, but couples will still spend an average of $140 on dates in the name of St. Valentine.
It’s safe to say that Valentine’s Day has become an expensive holiday because of the advertising and pressure placed on people by retail stores and brands. It makes you wonder where did this money-hungry holiday even come from?
Well, drawing a line between what the day is now and where it came from is a little difficult. Valentine’s Day originates from different legends surrounding a Saint Valentine from early ancient Roman. And all of these legends you’d be surprised to hear end in death.
One legend argues that Saint Valentine was a priest who was executed by Claudius in Roman after he was found to be performing secret marriages for lovers after marriage was outlawed because of the war.
Another says the name comes from Saint Valentine of Terni who was also executed by Claudius. While awaiting death in prison, he would write letters to his lover, signing them as “from your Valentine,” which is an expression still used to this day.
Some even say that Saint Valentine isn’t even a person, but a day that replaced the Roman holiday Lupercalia. There’s a lot of dark and unsettling history behind this day which makes it hard to believe that it’s now considered the day of love. But people speculate that the ancient festival that was held on Feb. 15 was renamed and moved to the 14th by Pope Gelasius.
Obviously it is not very clear as to why Valentine’s Day takes place. So why are 180 million Valentine’s Day cards exchanged every year across the world?
Well like I said, Valentine’s Day has been so blown out of proportion because of retail. Advertisements for years have implied that if you don’t buy your loved one something, usually expensive; then you’re not a good partner.
Thanks to this unnecessary pressure, retail stores thrive off of the day, making it one of their retail season holidays- a day where people will spend significant amounts of money.
Have you ever been to the grocery store days before Valentine’s Day? You would think it is Christmas judging by the amounts of people there are scrambling to buy some chocolate and flowers.
Jewelry stores in particular make a wild profit off of Valentine’s day. Canadians spend roughly $190 on jewellery, contributing to the 2.2 billion jewelers make in revenue for this one-day event.
Before I unravel the points I just made, I don’t think that spending drastic amounts of money is necessary to show a person how much they meant to you. But having a day to celebrate the love you have for another person isn’t a bad idea.
It’s proven that humans need to feel love and affection. Psychology Today wrote about babies who are deprived of comfort usually grow up to be psychologically damaged.
Now adults are more developed, but the same can be said for those of us who don’t receive affection. We tend to feel more lonely and depressed. So why not dedicate a day to spending quality time with the people we love, to make them feel loved.
I know I am not alone in this as 74 per cent of Canadians just want to spend quality time together on Valentine’s Day rather than spend money. And I think that is how Valentine’s Day should be advertised. A day to spend quality time with the people you love.
Unfortunately, according to Narcity Canada, 53 per cent of Canadians will not be celebrating Valentine’s Day at all this year.
In a year that has been full of bad news and isolation, I hope people chose to celebrate the day with their partner, friends or family. I think we all could use a little love, but through hugs and time spent together, not hundreds of dollars worth of gifts and flowers.