Hallmark cards announced plans today to rebadge the feast of the Blessed Virgin Mary this August, and make it the focus of a global marketing campaign. The festival, provisionally subtitled "Cherry Day" by the global gift giant, will be transformed into a celebration of "virgins, plus those who opened the floodgates for you"
'Heavenly virgins, what a theme!' said a spokesman. 'It's the untapped oasis in the greeting card desert stretching between Father's day and Halloween. "Cherries are red, memories are blue, especially the one of the time I did you" - how's that for starters?'
As well as composing poems and designing cards, the company is talking to confectioners about a complementary range of symbolic cherry liqueurs (or white chocolate, depending on audience).
The Vatican expressed outrage that the meaning of "yet-another Christian celebration" was about to be buried under a "commercial landslide". 'The assumption of the BVM is an ancient tradition dating back to 1950' said a cardinal. 'How dare someone make up new meanings for it? That's our job.'
Hallmark remained unrepentant. "What other occasion gives consumers the chance to look up that girl from the sixth form, find out where she lives now, and send a creepy message reminding her of youthful fumblings of yesteryear?' continued the spokesman. 'Ok you could have used Friends Reunited, but we give you an excuse that might stand up in court.'