To some, it was absurdly stupid, to those who are in love, thanks a lot to that short, fat and cute cuddly Cupid. In Philippines, Filipinos are always romantic at heart, and it is a trend to openly celebrate February 14 as the Day of Hearts. It is not an official holiday but people consider it as a Special Day for everyone. Each year Valentines Day is celebrated, not as part of the religious belief but due to its popularity, influences from the west and nationwide media participation. Being open-minded and willing to embrace the latest trend, February 14 of each year becomes a phenomenon. Young and old at heart celebrate by giving something to the most special person in their lives. That special person can be the fiancee, spouse, children, best friend, or even pets. The most romantic part is when couples choose to marry on this date. In fact, two thousand couples got married in Philippines on February 14, 2012.

Valentines day is always associated with the image of cupid, hearts, flowers, chocolates, greeting cards, stuffed toys, and heart shaped balloons. And to those who are single, they also celebrated it by organizing blind dates and going out with close friends who are either single, or to those who have no “dates” in that particular day. TV programs, movies, and even radio stations go along with the theme to capture the spirit of Valentines day. Schools in Philippines also organize Valentines Balls and parties for their students. Shopping malls are filled with valentine offers and discounts for the entire month of February, riding on the popularity of the occassion. Hotels and restaurants are always fully booked & crowded, as people tend to go out and celebrate. It is a truly special day for Filipinos.

In US, Americans celebrate February 14 in various ways. Just like in Philippines, it has become a largely commercialized phenomenon. Department stores and shopping malls stock Valentine’s Day-themed stuffed toys, food and snacks, gifts, greeting cards, and many other products to capitalize on the holiday’s popularity. Popular Valentine’s Day gifts include cards, chocolate candies, flowers, jewelry, and other tokens of affection. Many make handmade gifts for their friends, families, or significant others to express their affections. Teenagers and adults often look for dates or go out as a couple to celebrate it, just like the way Filipinos do. Outings can range from a dinner and a movie to weekend vacations at resorts or in nearby cities. Adults may also hold private parties or attend public parties to celebrate with large groups of friends on this occasion. Other people tend to create crazy and out-of-this-world ideas on how to make the day unique and memorable.

According to NRF survey conducted in US on January 4 to 11, 2012 and polled from 9,317 consumers, men were expected to spend $168.74 on clothing, jewelry, greeting cards and more this year — almost twice as much as women who spend an average of $85.76. The breakdown on products includes: $1.8 billion on flowers, $1.5 billion on candy, $1.4 billion on clothing and $1.1 billion on gift cards. Besides the flowers and chocolate, 70 million Americans prefered to dine out for Valentine’s Day. Daily ‘valentines day’-related searches have increased 35 percent over last year, according to Google. Among the top searches are valentines day meals and DIY valentines gifts.

Did you know?

1. One billion valentines are sent each year worldwide, making it the second largest card-sending holiday of the year behind Christmas. Women purchase approximately 85 percent of all valentines.
2. Teachers receive the most valentines, followed by kids, mothers, wives and sweethearts.
3. Hallmark produced its first valentine in 1913.
4. 15 percent of U.S. women send themselves flowers on Valentine’s Day.
5. The Catholic Church struck St. Valentine’s Day from its official calendar in 1969.


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