Here in America, the tradition of Valentine’s Day is to buy chocolates, candies, flowers, and other gifts for your friends or significant other. Our consumerist character spikes on events such as these. According to CNN, the average American will spend approximately $130, and the country as a whole will spend $18.6 billion. While this may not come as any surprise, the rest of the world is not far behind in their own consumerist tendencies. According to jewelry website http://Boticca.com, men from Singapore, the Philippines, and other Asian countries spend on average $245, while France and Spain come in at a close second, with men spending an average of $216 and $173, respectively.
On the flip side, not everybody is onboard with the idea of spending so much money. In Germany, Valentine’s Day is a relatively new holiday, first celebrated in the 1950s directly following American occupation due to WWII. Considered to have been a holiday made and promoted by the flower industry, only 36 percent of Germans actively participate in the gift-giving process. Those who do participate decorate little pig statues, which are a symbol of luck and lust, along with buying and gifting what we see as traditional: chocolates and flowers.
In China, Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan, Valentine’s Day is a day girls spoil their boyfriends with chocolates and gifts. It is followed a month later by White Day, where the favor is returned in the form of white chocolates, marshmallows, and other gifts.
In Finland and Estonia, Valentine’s Day is called Ystävänpäivä, which translates to Friend’s Day. Instead of celebrating romantic love, Philia, the love between friends, is celebrated.
These are just a few examples of the world’s take on the traditional Catholic holiday. No matter your decision on how to celebrate this year, whether it be purchasing gifts or hanging out with your friends, just remember that the cliché “it’s the thought that counts” does not contribute to our economy.