The Pillow Fight of St. Valentine: A Tradition of Joy, Not Love, in San Francisco

The expressions alone of this feather-filled tradition will make you fall in love, but a love that’s less romantic and perhaps more nostalgic.

Each year San Franciscans flock to a peculiar juncture, an odd space where Market Street ends and embraces the beauty of the Bay, where the Ferry Building stands as a mark of history and beacon for tourists and farmers markets, and where the Occupy Movement of the city was stationed for over a year. Every February 14th, people of all types– the single and the committed, the hipster and the business-clad– conjoin at Justin Herman Plaza for a  fierce, albeit fun, pillow fight.

Stretching from 5:30pm til whenever the party tires, usually 9pm or so, people willingly gather to slap or slam pillows into each other’s faces, heads, necks, chests, and abdomens, with nothing less than relentless force. Unlike refereed contact sports, such as football, rugby or men’s lacrosse, no body part is off-limits, which is why the flyer for this event suggests one wears protective “armor”– hankies over your mouth and goggles for your eyes are among several of the suggestions proposed by the organizers, whoever they may be.

The following is a photographic rendition of the joy experienced by the Pillow Fighters of the Fourteenth. Unphased by smacks to the head, only smiles and laughter prevailed, the kind that remind you of childhood and the living-in-the-moment fun that leaves every worry in the world in the dust.

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