Cultural anthropologists have described and analyzed holidays as windows into local culture as well as indexes of larger global processes. As far as I know, Christmas is the only holiday so far that has generated an entire edited volume. A quick search into published work by cultural anthropologists yielded very little. One insightful article, by a journalism/communications scholar, talks about the creation of Valentine’s Day in Ghana.
Valentine’s Day is rapidly globalizing but not without resistance and reformulation, as the links below illustrate. Is it a Hallmark card event? Maybe a card is required but that may not get you very far. Chocolates? Cut flowers? Dinner out? And who pays? What’s the short-term result on Feb 14 and the longer-term effects?
It’s so decadent: Iran bans Valentine’s Day
More decadent: Valentine’s Day as focal point of culture “East-West” culture clash?
The price of love: price of roses up in China
More: cut flower shortage in Malaysia
Show the love in the US: nearly 150 million cards will be exchanged on Valentine’s Day along with chocolate, flowers and candy
Love everywhere: 10 best places in the world to propose marriage
What’s love got to do with it?: the effects of Valentine’s Day on relationships
Better than brushing?: kissing may prevent tooth decay
Who do you want to be with on Valentine’s Day?: global poll says 1 in 5 prefer to spend Feb. 14 with their pet
But, let’s draw the line: kissing your dogs and cats may have health implications
Valentine’s Day in India: the younger generation in India loves the concept of Valentine’s Day, yet there are many political groups who condemn it as an alien concept
Single on Valentine’s Day?: in Malaysia and Russia religious authorities are attempting to crack down on the decadent Western celebration of couples “being gross with each other”
The seventh eve: celebrating love in China
Back to basics: love and the color red
Back to even more basics: chocolate is good for the brain