IS there a more divisive holiday? Since ancient times people have celebrated love on the 14th day in February. A checkered history from start to finish, so what does Valentine’s Day means to society today?
Many newspapers have outlined a detailed history of Valentine’s Day: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/women/sex/valentines-day/7187784/History-of-Valentines-Day.html
And there’s more on the dark side of Valentines day here: http://www.npr.org/2011/02/14/133693152/the-dark-origins-of-valentines-day
Mentioned by the likes of Chaucer in 1382 and Shakespeare in Hamlet in 1681 it is a time old tradition celebrated by many. It became fashionable in the mid 18th Century to send love notes, that subsequently became the pink, love heart laden cards we know today. First printed in 1931, many cynics will lament this date as they day it all became a bit twee.
The 20th Century saw the ‘loss of innocence’ of the public Holiday. In 1929, the St Valentine’s day Massacre happened where seven gangsters were killed at the behest of Al Capone, who wanted to consolidate his position as top-dog in the Bootlegging business.
In the modern day, things are different. The Cardiffian asked the people of Cardiff their opinions on St Valentine’s Day. Love it or loath it, it divides opinion like no other public holiday. Hallmark holiday or a chance to share the love? A consumerist charlatan of a day invented by greetings card companies? Or a chance to spread good will amongst all lovers?
“It’s commercialized crap. I don’t think it has any meaning. Well, I guess to some people it has some meaning but personally its rubbish. It’s all about selling cards, teddies and flowers.”
“I think its become quite commercialized. The actually idea is a nice thing but lots of consumers are forced to into buying cards and presents. It’s an expensive business.”
“I think quite commercialized, to the point where it’s no longer very romantic!”
“Its a commercial waste. I am in a relationship but we don’t celebrated it that much, its pretty much pointless really. It’s a hallmark holiday!”
“I like valentines day, I think its a nice day. Its a slight appropriation of culture by big businesses. I think valentines day as portrayed in the media is not a nice thing but its great to spend time with the people you love.”
“Well s I haven’t got a girlfriend at the moment not great! Its a great day out though, it’s really expensive though taking your lady out for dinner. There’s nothing wrong with it, I’m not really the lovey-dovey type even if I had a girlfriend, but all round it’s good to share love.”