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We, as a society have symbolized this in different ways. It is evident from the rich descriptions in mythology. Kamadeva from Hindu or Indian mythology and the Cupid from the Greek. Both are handsome men who use their bow and arrow to help mortals and gods fall in love. The bow and arrow of Kamadeva is basically sugar cane with a string of bees and arrows of different flowers. These paint the symbolic nature in our everyday life as we associate love to things that are sweet and joyful. For instance, the sugarcane, honey, and flowers. The arrow symbolizes how when it hits our hearts, instills values. The epicurean culture in ancient Rome symbolized certain days of this period with fertility and pleasure. In the meantime, the execution of two saints named as Valentine happened on this date but on different period. To commemorate their death, we chose this date and named it St. Valentine's day. However, the prior associations of this season with that of love and fertility made it an association with love.
Over time, when Americans made it a special day to exchange and share greeting cards, marketers pounced on this and made it a major gifting festival or holiday. Today, National Retail Federation (2015) estimates a whopping $19.7 billion in gift buying by consumers. Even though we associated the term Valentine's day with that of just love for one's fiancee/fiancé, or spouse, we have come a long way by making it a special day for anyone we love. That includes pets. The pet gifting industry is estimated to spend around $700 million this year. That is a lot.
When I think about this, I do agree that gifting is a beautiful phenomenon. I love to gift (read it in capital letters) and I love to receive them once a while too. However, making that the very basis for any celebration is a scary thought. As a person from this industry, I am glad that we as advertisers have the knack to establish the ground rules for anything and everything without pushing it directly. Yes, we keep reminding you year after year that gifts are the ways to propose to someone your true love ;).
Ah! I know! That red rose, or that fluffy teddy bear, the delicious chocolates, diamond rings, or even the sexy lingerie, all that you associate with V-day has been the work of genius story tellers- the advertisers!
Even though I love the beauty of love and the joy of giving, I think the pressure to be with someone (either their spouse or family) can be changed by making it a day we give back to whomever we want, or do whatever we want to do. After all, it is a day to do what we love and be with someone or something we love - be it reading our favorite book, writing a journal, or even reading this blog!
So, what did y'all do today?