Notes from a Linguistic Mystic

Hello everybody, and Happy Valentines Day to everybody that celebrates it.

Valentine’s Day is a holiday celebrated in some Western cultures which is generally dedicated to love, romance, and relationships. Likely adapted from the Roman spring fertility ritual and Christianized with the namedropping of St. Valentine, it’s frequently considered to be a good day to go on dates, to exchange gifts (thanks to concerted marketing efforts), and to spend time with your significant other.

Of course, Valentine’s Day has its share of fascinating words and language use associated with it.

Frequently, people refer to Valentine’s Day as a “Hallmark Holiday”. This refers to the Hallmark Card company, and thus, by metonymy, to the greeting card and gift industry. The term itself reflects the somewhat popular belief that Valentine’s Day is as hyped as it is largely due to marketing, and that the real reason it exists is so that gift card companies, candy makers, and florists can sell their goods at inflated prices after the Christmas Rush.

Another popular (albeit bitter) alternate name for Valentine’s Day is “Singles Awareness Day”, evoking the sadness of being single on the day that people are expected to be celebrating romance.

Some people have been known to refer to Valentine’s Day as “Make-Up Day”, because in some relationships (apparently), showering your significant other with gifts on Valentine’s Day can make up for your past failings or infidelities.

As you can see (from the host of alternate definitions and perspectives), Valentine’s day is controversial even in the places where it’s celebrated, perhaps moreso than any other holiday. However, the fact remains, it’s a darned good time to get a date in a Western Culture.

A quick (and related) link for the OS X users in the crowd:

The Love Translator Widget is a dashboard widget which translates the phrase “I love you” into more than 100 languages, all transliterated for easy reading. Install it today, woo her tonight. Remember, nothing’s sexier than a vow of love that she can’t understand.

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