St. Valentine's Day is coming and it's coming fast. Yeah, yeah, this must mean that it is time to truly show one's hate for "corporation-created, greeting card holidays." But Valentine's Day, although decently rooted in the greeting-card business, is so much more than a money-making scheme. It gives a definite date to something one should do everyday: show appreciation to those close to them.
This holiday is mostly thanks to a bishop named Valentine who married soldiers in secret and left a note to his "beloved" signed "From your Valentine." Said bishop was then executed on Feb. 14. Geoffrey Chaucer was first to mention St. Valentine's Day in his poem Parlement of Foules, where he correlated the saint's day to one of romance and love. After Chaucer, Shakespeare mentioned it in Hamlet. From this, the holiday gained popularity and Esther Howland took advantage of lovers and their purchases and started a greeting-card business based on it.
From then on, Valentine's Day has been second only to Christmas for the most greeting cards sold in the United States (approximately one billion, according to the U.S. Greeting Card Association). This still isn't a bad thing. With the state of the economy as it is right now, one billion greeting cards sold seems like a whole lot of stimulation right when it's needed. All the grouches who hate Valentine's Day and all it stands for are probably just lonely. Anyone who has received a cheesy valentine card has always taken it with a grin on their face and enjoyed it. Even the creepy ones show affection-- something which no human being can hate.
Also, who doesn't love candy handouts? Valentine's Day is like a happy-go-lucky Halloween, with slightly more sex. Not only is the candy awesome on Valentine's Day, but when it goes on sale the next day, it really is like Christmas has come all over again for candy lovers.
One cannot really claim to hate Valentine's Day without sounding like a bitter jackass. To hate the one day where it is widely promoted to show affection to those around you doesn't really make any sense. This is a practice that should be promoted as a daily ritual, not just one day every year. One does not need to go all out-- displays of affection don't need a price tag. Not everyone likes chocolates, nor flowers. Homemade valentines or the cheesiest ones possible are the best bet, because everyone loves a bad pun in a cute format.
So yes, Valentine's Day was snapped up early on by commercialization-- the candy and greeting card sales ring in enough to make anyone's mouth drool-- but the message behind it is still the same: "I appreciate you and I want you to know that."