In a few hours it will be Valentine’s Day. If you haven’t thought of a gift for your better half at this hour, it’s not yet too late. You may still join the frantic Google search for “gifts for girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband.” And better yet, know this year’s Valentine’s Day Trends.
Would you still join the hustle and bustle if you knew what happened to the original Valentine on February 14? For a bit of perspective, here’s a historical detail to mull over. In 270 A.D. the Roman Emperor Claudius II was so angry at Bishop Valentine for solemnizing the marriage of his soldiers who he believed to be better fighters if they remained single. The Emperor had Valentine executed on February 14. A romantic till the end, Valentine wrote a love note to the apple of his eye and signed it, “From Your Valentine.” That is how it began and now 145 million Valentines are sent out each year in the US alone. And that is why Valentine’s Day used to be about exchanging cards and sending sweet and romantic messages. Both children and adults would sit down after shopping for paper, ribbons and other decorative implements and spend a considerable amount of time making cards from scratch. Attempts at poetry were carefully and lovingly inked. It was such a thrill to receive cards made by hand and people did it year after year.
How times have changed
The advent of color printing made it possible for the less creative to also give out cards on Valentine’s Day. Bookstores and gift shops put Valentine cards on the racks after clearing out the Christmas stocks. People still buy tangible cards, but when free e-cards became available, those with Internet access naturally opted to just send out digital greetings.
But, despite increased options, it’s not as easy as it used to be. Roses and chocolates used to be enough for couples. If these should prove to be inadequate, a romantic dinner with candlelight and wine would suffice to complete the celebration. It may be more convenient to exchange messages now that social media platforms are the preferred means of human exchange, but finding a special and unique way to express one’s feelings is becoming more challenging than ever.
Here’s what’s trending. Valentine beer and chocolate bacon cookies, for starters. Since chocolate was used as treatment for heartbreak in the 19th century, where does the bacon figure in this? Animal lovers are also getting Valentine gifts for their dogs (not so much for cats).
Less searches for wives, and roses and dark chocolate are going out of favor
This year more women are searching for gifts than men, and less married men are looking for gifts than men who have not yet tied the knot. Though flowers are still a Valentine’s Day staple, men are veering away from the traditional bunch of red roses and are becoming more open to possibilities. Or it may just be a growing awareness that women do have their own preferences and some would rather receive tulips or carnations, which are figuring in recent online searches.
When it comes to chocolates, less people are looking for dark chocolate these days (how come?). Not surprisingly, healthy chocolate is a popular search item (e.g., gluten-free chocolate). But if you want to stick to tradition, here’s a historical tidbit. Richard Cadbury was the one who invented special Valentine’s Day chocolate. Take a hint.
Valentine’s Day Trends 2013
This year, the popularity of e-cards has waned a bit. And apparently, younger people who are in a relationship prefer to exchange tangibles rather than digital Valentine quotes. However, married adults between the ages of 35-55 are predicted to exchange e-cards to send their love messages on February 14. And it seems that rather than spend their time on the Internet searching for e-cards, men are pre-occupied with looking for ideas on how to propose.
It’s worth noting that this year’s Valentine season searches on divorce and break-ups have lessened compared to the year just past. That ought to make Valentine’s Day 2013 more hopeful and more romantic.