Not Horrendous

Bewildered ramblings from a daft designer floundering at the deep end of the creative pool.

Employ me: east

Stay Updated: RSS / Email

Can We All Stop Complaining About Valentines Day?

/ Thoughts & Opinion

There is absolutely no doubt that I love a good moan, and anybody who has read any of my previous blogs anywhere can testify to this, but today, just for a change, I’d like to moan about the moaners.

Saint Valentine’s day comes around every year, and has been doing so now since anybody reading this flopped out of their mum (in fact since The Year of the Consulship of Antiochianus and Orfitus, or more commonly, 270 AD). We all know it’s coming every year, and we all get a bit tetchy about the whole thing.

We all seem to love to boycott the whole event en masse. In fact, if we could send Valentines to intangible concepts, then the irony and paradox combo-klaxon would sound out across the land as we all expressed our love for hating on the poor old 14th February.

It’s not unlikely that you’ll hear people moan about how it’s a “Hallmark Holiday” or how it’s a completely fabricated event for gift shops and card shops to charge a limb or two for some red cardboard, a couple of crap chocolates and the world’s largest teddy-bear (who buys those things anyway?).

It may well have grown in to more of a commercially-led occasion, and what hasn’t these days, but I’d like to take a moment to inform you that you’re all wrong.

The celebration of Saint Valentine has been around since the High Middle Ages, and a quick check on Wikipedia confirms that:

“By the 15th century, it had evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines”)”

That’s over 600 years ago now people. We were still fighting the Hundred Years War for goodness sake. The oldest (and presumably awesomely soppy) Valentine card was from around 1400 AD and can actually still be seen in the British Museum. Perfect for those stuck for something infinitely boring to do on the 14th Feb.

In the early 1900’s a card company named Norcross became one of the first companies to manufacture Valentines cards, so despite paper Valentine gifts being exchanged more throughout the early 1800s in England, it wasn’t until 400-500 years later than its inception that it become something of a money-making industry. Incidentally Hallmark Cards wasn’t even founded until 1910. So there.

So while you’re still reeling from that knowledge bombshell, here are some other things you might not have realised about the 14th Feb.

In 1849 in New York, James Knox Polk became the first serving President of the United States to have his photograph taken. In 1852 Great Ormond St Hospital for Sick Children, was founded in London. In 1965 Slick Rick was born. Residents of Arizona and Oregon celebrate “Statehood Day” and it’s only 320 days till the end of the year (except leap-years of course).

So whether you’re forking out for an un-necessarily over-priced meal in a restuarant that your friend recommended for a laugh, or whether you’re sitting self-harming at home, drowning in a pool of your own bodily fluids, you can feel better about the 14th. Sort of.

No, “the man” did not create this holiday just so you had to spend money and pretend that you love your poor partner an extra wee bit today. It all happened way before companies wanted to fleece you for your hard-earned in such a way, so dry your eyes and get on with it.

Stay Updated: RSS / Email

Alex Cowles

About The Author: Alex Cowles

A largely cynical and often sarcastic designer and front-end developer by day. Unknown international DJ & music producer extraordinaire by night (and at weekends). You probably won't like him.