The Culture of February 14th

February 13, 2015

BW photograph of an orange and yellow daisy.

Copyright 2015 Kevin P. Mick Photography. All rights reserved.

Tomorrow is February 14 (unless you are in a part of the world where it is already the 14th).  In the United States, February 14 is celebrated as Valentine’s Day.  As it turns out, this day has a very interesting history, as reported by NPR.

Many mark this day with a gift of roses to those who are considered special-the photograph above is decidedly not a rose.  However, given the symbolism involved in the giving of roses, it is not surprising that the cost of roses for Valentine’s Day is often markedly higher than other days of the year, as discussed here.  While one would probably do well to not try to put a price on love, that is essentially what appears to happen.  From a purely economic perspective, such pricing makes sense as this is an opportunity for various retailers, not to mention the countries from whom the roses originate, to capitalize on the emotion of the day.  Florists, of course, are not the only companies to benefit from such a holiday:  greeting card companies, candy manufacturers, and restaurants also provide products that can be used to demonstrate one’s affection.

Discussing Valentine’s Day in business terms does seem to remove some of the lustre from the day.  However, it is just as important to note that for many, Valentine’s Day can be a time of loneliness, sadness, and depression, which are decidedly unpleasant emotions for one to feel.  It is certainly hoped that if such feelings occur, one can find a way to take care of oneself so as to make it through the day and beyond.  Community organizations, places of worship, and mental health centers may be able to provide immediate and longer term assistance.  Sometimes taking a walk helps.

In Finland, February 14 is celebrated as National Friendship Day.  Hearing that on NPR this morning provided a different perspective and is one that seems a bit more inclusive.  I like that.

Take care.


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