Feature: Despite financial woes, Greeks heartily embrace Valentine’s Day

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ATHENS, Feb. 14 (Xinhua) — Despite recent financial woes, Greeks did not miss the opportunity to celebrate love on Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day.

Local media cited a survey showing that spending on gifts for the day has increased by 181.5 percent over the course of three years (2017-2019).

Citing figures from a survey carried out in 53 countries for MasterCard and released on Thursday, the local news portal in.gr reported that although the volume of card transactions for romantic Greeks is not as big as in other countries, even during the debt crisis, which started in 2009, they did not miss the chance to express their feelings to their loved ones.

According to a similar study conducted in 2018, Greeks spent on average 74 euros (80 U.S. dollars) on Valentine’s Day presents.

“Despite the crisis in Greece in recent years, sales did not suffer dramatically. Each one of us tries to show his/her feelings by purchasing at least one flower,” florist Manos Vassilakis told Xinhua in central Athens on Friday.

Pavlos, 18, was one of his customers, who purchased a red rose for his significant other.

“I usually buy small gifts, usually a flower. I don’t believe in Saint Valentine really. I believe that love exists every day,” he said.

For those who opted for something different than the classic flowers or chocolate boxes, this year one of the city’s museums, the Museum of Cycladic Art, offers plenty of ideas throughout February.

“We wanted this February to be colored in red. This month we asked them (artists cooperating with the museum) to create red objects,” Thecla Fountou, head of the museum’s shop, told Xinhua on Friday.

Under red balloons, visitors were admiring heart-shaped tea or coffee mugs and books celebrating love.

“We have many sources of inspiration. (You will see) jewelry with poems by (Ancient Greek poet) Sappho, words explaining love, various objects, books. There are marvelous editions of love poems,” Fountou explained. (1 euro = 1.08 U.S dollars)

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