It’s that time of year again, when the world turns pink with sentimental cards, heart-shaped chocolates and long-stemmed roses. Happy Valentines Day!
Whether you swoon with satisfaction or retch with repulsion at the thought of Valentine’s Day, it’s hard to deny that these days, it’s taken on a life of its own. According to some polls, an estimated 17.6 billion dollars will be spent on gifts in this Valentines Day in the USA alone; meanwhile 200 million roses will be sold and 220,000 people will propose to their partner!
Oddly enough, the origins of Valentines Day begin with a man in chains. Locked up for performing marriage ceremonies under the Emperor Claudius II, legend has it that Saint Valentine – a 3rd century Roman Bishop – initiated the custom having left a final affectionate note to his jailer’s daughter before being taken to execution: “From Your Valentine”. How strange that this tragic moment should have inspired such a happy holiday!
With all this love in the air it’s easy to forget that it’s not all rose-tinted. Not least for those producing the chocolate which will make up the majority of our Valentine’s Day gifts. Like Valentine himself, many of those producing our chocolate for February 14th are prisoners – young children, forced to work as slaves on the same West African cocoa plantations which supply our high streets.
Of course, it doesn’t have to be this way. As consumers we can vote with our wallets by choosing gifts which carry the marks of ethical certification (Fairtrade, UTZ or Rainforest Alliance).
If you’ve planned to ‘say it with chocolates’ this year, why not go one better and say it with certified? Find out more at www.stopthetraffik.org/chocolate