Valentine’s Day: Love begins with you By Valeria Boi

When Shakespeare decided to set the story of Romeo and Juliet in Verona with the famous balcony scene, he couldn’t imagine that spot would become one of the most popular symbols of love in the world. And as usual, this February 14 tourists and lovers will visit the known Juliet’s house, enjoying the romantic atmosphere.

Because Valentine’s Day is the day of love, celebrated almost all around the world, and it has ancient origins. Emperor Claudius II executed two men named Valentine, on February 14 of different years in the third century.

Their martyrdom was honoured by the Catholic Church and Pope Gelasius had the intention of transforming the pagan festival of Lupercalia with the celebration of St. Valentine's Day, the protector for lovers. There are many legends about its meaning of love, and since that moment celebrating February 14 has become a tradition. 

What comes in mind when people think about it? Romantic love, two lovers, endless love. When Valentine’s Day is coming, everything around refers to the emblem of love, everything takes the shape of heart and red colour. On the streets, shop windows display hearts shaped items and stickers, flowers, romantic music and it seems everything around refers to love.
Weeks before this fateful day, most of people is looking for the perfect gift to express the love felt for the loved one. Could be a bouquet of red roses, a perfume, a candlelight dinner, jewelry, underwear...

There are so many gift options, and it could be a surprise or something that the partner wants, either way it’s something that will please. On their websites, luxury fashion brands as Gucci and Dior are showing ideas and personalised gift for this occasion

and Vivienne Westwood has a dedicated section with a heart print red top, or Yves Saint Laurent proposing flowers bouquets and padlocks with heart shape.

It is clear that shopping for Valentine's Day creates good profits for the economy, indeed last year in United States people spent approximately $23.9 billion in 2022, spending $175.41 per person. 

So is it just consumerism? Not really: in one of his studies, the anthropologist Malinowski discovered in 1922 how the gift creates a permanent connection in society, because the act of giving is unconditional and establishes a system of exchange.  And thinking about the moment the gift is chosen and given, it’s a declaration of love and one of many demonstrations of affection.

If it is true that over time this anniversary has taken on a more universal meaning, intended love towards friends and family, lately people is thinking about it also as celebration of self love. Especially in the last decade, where people has realized the importance of loving themself before anyone else, this celebration of self-love shouldn’t surprise.

Married, engaged, lovers, friends, single, people now doesn’t need a partner to celebrate themself, and according a statistic conducted in UK in 2022, 25% of Brits treated themselves on Valentine’s Day.

Nowadays it seems so easy, but years ago singles didn’t celebrate this romantic day. It’s interesting how the society is evolving beautifully, focusing on what everyone deserves as a single person. So this day it’s perfect to pamper themselves with a SPA day, or purchasing the desired cross-body bag.

If a gift can make people happy even for a moment, that’s what matters. That’s why Valentine’s Day can be considered the universal day of love, celebrated in different ways by everyone wants to show love towards anything.

Now Valentine’s Day has a wider meaning of love but something hasn’t change, the association with the colour red, passion and sensuality. Red like the iconic colour of the luxury fashion brand Valentino, and it’s immediately a perfect gift idea.

Valeria Boi

London - 03/02/2023