La Saint-Valentin est une fête du profit déguisée en fête de l'amour.

I am translating it as "for profit business" but fête in fête du profit might have some other cultural meaning for the French. Is there?

2 Answers 2


Fête has its ordinary meaning in both occurrences: celebration, holiday, festival. The sentence doesn't say anything about any business.

A nearly word-for-word translation works fine:

Valentine's day is a celebration of profit disguised as a celebration of love.


In the present age, when in matters of verbal expression an evident trend is a general instigation in the producing of pungent verbal forms, which results in the craving of numerous writers for a pun in their every sentence, the questionned sentence comes as no surprise, that is, no surprise in that sense that it is one more of those strained analogies without real pith in it. People are overdoing things under pressure and necessarily there must be an unavoidable crop of bad results.

What is meant, plainly, is that the celebration is a pretext for raking in profits; that is quite clear. The idea of celebration in this business of supplying some of the paraphernalia that goes with Valentine's Day corresponds to nothing ; there is no analogy ; the introduction of this idea is nothing else than a rather thoughtless, easy transposition, the pattern of which is nothing but popular. The activity has nothing to do with the rest of the business community, implies no ritual in the way of rejoycing about making profits.

A typical example

Vous parlez d'une direction communale des établissements de santé ! C'est une direction communale d'escrocs associés.

In the same way, here, there is no such controlling body. It must be said that serious thinkers do not indulge in that sort of rhetoric, it's just to easy, not refering to something specific enough.

If this particular practice is unique to the French language, of course the translation has to rely on a comparable context and is a problem; it could have, as is often enough the case, no real equivalent in English.

Irrespectively of a perfect correspondence of context, the following translation renders the idea fairly well, while exploiting a real parallel, as an overwhelming concern for making money without regard for anything else is figuratively represented as a worship of Mammon.

  • Valentine's Day is from the point of view of the business Community that thrives on it a mere testimony of faithfulness to Mammon and not of faithfulness to the tradition of love.
  • 2
    I'm not the one who downvoted you, but boy you are off-topic. Here the best type of answer is short and to the point, for a question as simple as that you really didn't need to write all that (was it necessary to include a "worship of Mammon"??). Feb 15, 2019 at 11:00
  • @TeleportingGoat I see you do not share my point of view; you must be refuting then, among possibly others, this particular assertion concerning "fête" that says that there is nothing to explain the word (which is also the OP's point of view). Do you have an explanation for it?
    – LPH
    Feb 15, 2019 at 17:03

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