It's that time of year again. Synthetic romance is in the air and we’re all encouraged to take part in the name of Valentine’s Day…
St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of Catholic and Ancient Roman tradition, but has evolved into something vastly different to what it once was. While some believe we celebrate this day in the middle of the month to commemorate the anniversary of the death or burial of St Valentine, others suggest it was intentionally placed on the 14th in an effort to ‘Christianize’ the pagan celebration of Lupercalia.
So, much like the contemporary Valentine’s Day which finds itself conveniently plonked in the lull between Christmas and Easter festivities, the origins of the day were very much manufactured, too.
In Blighty, Valentine’s Day has been widely celebrated for the past few centuries; by the middle of the 1800s, it was common for friends and lovers to exchange presents as a small token of affection, until things gradually progressed into the fanfare we bear witness to today.
However, when it comes to a brand’s annual attempt to stay relevant by embracing February 14th, much like the first boyfriend who ‘never quite got you’, it all rather predictably ends in tears and embarrassment. See Marks & Spencer’s feeble effort for more details – because after all, nothing says I love you quite like a questionably named, big hunk of pork meat fashioned into a heart shape.
Are we falling out of love with Valentine’s Day?
More and more people are choosing to snub this day of love in favour of celebrating in an alternative way. And before you say it, no this notion isn’t thought up by a bunch of liberal-thinking Russell Group university students – it’s a feeling captured worldwide. The Guardian reported earlier this week that Japanese women are refusing to take part in ‘giri choco’, a tradition which stipulates that they should buy chocolates for male co-workers on Valentine’s Day.
So, when it comes to rejecting this antiquated practice, there are three contenders for your annual antidote to scheduled love festivities - all of which are to be celebrated on February 13th not 14th as tradition dictates:
This is a day for celebrating the love you have for your female friends, irrespective of your relationship status. Rather than buying your partner or a prospective partner a gift, you are encouraged to shower your closest friends in adoration and attention.
This is more of a movement as opposed to an actual day and is perfect for those sick to death of orchestrated and over-commercialised acts of love. Like reclaiming the jumper you left at your ex’s house after a nasty break-up, it’s about reclaiming what is yours – in this case, self-love!
If you aren’t a lady, fear not. If you are single and/or repulsed by the incessant displays of public affection that litter town centres on Valentine’s Day, then why not use the day as an excuse to celebrate your platonic friendships. Drink, eat and relax – there’s no pressure to perform in this arena.
Is the public beginning to turn their back on Valentine’s Day? Does it hold any importance to you or a significant other? Get in touch, we’d love to hear your thoughts @otbtweeter