Valentine’s Day does have a long history in Europe, dating back to the Middle Ages. Sending of cards, flowers and sweets has been a tradition for many years in certain countries but I don’t recall it being so significant in Spain when we first arrived.
It hasn’t taken Spaniards long though to catch on the money spinning possibilities. What better way to fill the gap between New Year and Easter than to promote a special day/weekend in February. It seems that everyone in Spain has gone Valentine mad and anyone who ignores the idea is marked down as lacking in romance.
Hotels in Benidorm boast a 90% occupancy rate for this weekend and are putting on Valentine themed dinners to mark the occasion. It isn’t just hotels though, shops are filled with heart shaped gifts of all sorts, cake shops have promoted the idea to their benefit and restaurants have cashed in on the theme.
The extent to which you get sucked in to this notion of declaring your love depends not just upon how romantic you are but on the depth of your pockets. In England, a bunch of red roses can cost a small fortune if they are bought a few days before and the price of a meal in a restaurant can double. It goes without saying that, shops, hotels and restaurants will look to cash in on the occasion but that does not mean that we should all be drawn in so deep by the hype that we feel the need to empty our wallets.
A young friend of mine showed us on Facebook the lavish gift that he had bought his girlfriend for their first Valentine’s Day. He went on to show us the expensive lunch he had treated he to along with the extravagant bar bill that accompanied it. No doubt his spending will have impressed the young lady but perhaps he should have considered how he is going to follow that up in years to come. Once the first flush of romance has subsided, a card and a box of Dairy Milk chocolates may be all that he wants to offer but that will not impress her much.
I know that some of my readers will think that I am being miserly about all this but the truth is that Saint Valentine’s day has become a great commercial venture, less about romance, more about making money.