Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Valentine's Day is a Big Deal

I never knew Valentine’s Day was such a big deal. It was in 4th grade when I got to decorate a pretty box and go to school and collect cards and candy and hopefully a “you’re cute” from a boy. But if you have 4 days straight to be stuck at home with nothing but network television, you’ll be convinced that Valentine’s Day ranks right up there with Christmas. In fact, I’m astonished we don’t have the day off with all its importance. Martha, Rachel Ray, even Matt Lauer have convinced me that I must be preparing and analyzing Valentine’s Day for weeks!

What’s funny is that Valentine’s Day is like Kwanzaa to me…it just doesn’t apply. I watch the countless commercials for chocolates, body lotion, perfume, pasta, digestive products (to help with over indulgence)- all insisting that the big V-Day will be better with their products, and glaze over with irrelevant disinterest. Every daytime show for the entire week (maybe longer) has been instructing me on the rules to a sucessful holiday. The hosts have been proclaiming Happy Valentines day to their guests since Monday! What does that mean exactly? Like, “Happy I hope someone loves you and gives you chocolate and stuffed animals later this week”?

After doing some research on what Valentine’s Day actually is, the results are a little inconclusive. It seems to stem from a poem Chaucer wrote to honor the first anniversary of the engagement of King Richard II of England to Anne of Bohemia. He was 13 and she 14, so I kinda wonder if their brains were even developed enough to understand love. Another search says that using the language of the law courts for the rituals of courtly love, a "High Court of Love" was established in Paris on Valentine's Day in 1400. The court dealt with love contracts, betrayals, and violence against women. Judges were selected by women on the basis of a poetry reading. How romantic, violence against women.

But at the “heart” of the matter, the U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately 1 billion valentines are sent out worldwide each year. That’s a lot of card buying, a lot of postage buying. So perhaps, when feeling this holiday excludes my participation, I can look at it as Help the Recession Day. I can help America by spending my dwindling dollar on pretty paper products and contribute to a more vibrant economy.

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