Valentine’s Day

Governor Dukakis and Boston’s 4-Day-Long Valentine’s Celebration

A square black and white valentine featuring Michael Dukakis' face in the middle of a heart of flowers with other flowers in the background
This Duka-KISS is for you

When you look in the Boston Globe Library Collection folder labeled “Valentines,” you might be surprised to find a photo of a Valentine whose central feature is former Governor Michael Dukakis. The reason the Globe had this Dukakis Valentine from 1978? In 1978, Valentine’s Day was four days long.

The year of 1978 is infamous in Boston history due primarily to a blizzard bringing over 27 inches of snow on February 6. With a week-long driving ban imposed by Governor Dukakis, along with families and businesses navigating the damage of the blizzard, the incredible amount of snow over such a short period of time deeply impacted and impeded the city economically and socially. This all happened leading up to Valentine’s Day, worrying businesses who heavily relied on the holiday’s sales of flowers, cards, and candies. Governor Dukakis had a creative solution.

In a February 1978 State House Press Conference, Dukakis said that “for spiritual as well as economic reasons,” the Valentine’s Day holiday would not only be observed on Tuesday, February 14th, but also February 15th, 16th, and 17th, and it would culminate with a Valentine’s party on Friday afternoon at the State House.

Thanks to Dukakis’ Valentine’s decree, sweethearts across Boston had ample time to secure flowers and chocolates for their loved ones, and stores furnishing those gifts wouldn’t be stuck with an abundance of Valentine’s stock.

The Boston Globe printed this Valentine dedicated to Dukakis in their February 14, 1978, paper, beginning their documentation of Valentine’s observances throughout the four-day-long celebration.

Send a love poem for Valentine’s Day, read by outstanding actors!

If you’re as sick as I am of hearing about the Valentine’s Day roses on WBUR, the Times of London is offering something a little different: Choose from a selection of classic romantic poems, read aloud by what they call a “stellar cast” of actors, to be delivered via e-mail to your sweetie. If he or she loves the plummy tones of Alan Rickman or Patrick Stewart, or the elegance of Helen Mirren, then this could be the perfect gift. Best of all, it’s free! (My adoration of Judi Dench is no secret, so I think I’d choose her reading of “How Do I Love Thee” for myself…) The offer expired on February 14, but you can still listen to poetry at the Poetry Archive.