You know I’m not really a fan of this whole ‘I don’t like Valentine’s day, it’s too commercialised’-attitude that a lot of people my age have. The interesting thing is though, I completely agree.
Most notable festivals, holidays, days-of-note etc, are capitalised upon in some way. Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day. And these are just the ones I experience in England, there are many other holidays celebrated across the world that will have been jumped upon by different brands and companies.
Let me get this straight first off, people can do what they want. People can buy stuff for Valentine’s day, be it tacky or thoughtful. Companies are allowed to create an over-exaggerated need for things that aren’t actually needed, because that’s the society we live in. Don’t argue with me about the issues with this, I realise a lot of that kinda stuff is wrong, but hey, that’s capitalism, take your issues with that process as a whole. The commercialisation of days and events is just a symptom.
I think my issue is with the people that will criticise and harangue days like this simply because of their association with the ‘big evil corporations who mass-produce shit to sell to blind consumers’. Yes, this is the case, but that doesn’t mean you should not celebrate Valentine’s day.
When Valentine’s day rolls around, I don’t really celebrate it. Why would I? What I do is allow for it to help me to remember. We go through lives with our present minds focused on many different things. Dates, products, wants, needs, dreams. That’s just how we function, so sometimes we forget things. We allow ourselves to fall into set patterns and processes, which is ok, that’s human nature! We are biological animals, and we will repeat things and get into routines simply because well, that’s life at times.
A day like Valentine’s day, or Christmas, can allow us to spend a day thinking and remembering about what that day originally stood for. Or maybe should stand for (I know Christmas was originally one of those Christian things, but I’m kinda going along the lines of ‘selfless giving’). I think Valentine’s day can be used to think about all different kinds of love. Romantic, platonic, familial, all the others kinds. Love for a friend across the sea, your mother, dead relative, boy across the road, the list could go on.
One thing we have to do when it comes to these days is not simply brush off the idea of celebration simply because all the shops go crazy and everyone seems to buy shitty cards for their other halves which don’t really mean anything. We can celebrate, but only if we reclaim. Go through the day with the genuine feeling and appreciation of love. Go through it with an open-mindedness. Learn about different kinds of love. Love for another, love for yourself! Reclaim what has been bought by a cultural and economic hegemony. Remember what it is to love or be loved because you may have forgotten. It’s like drinking a flavour of tea you’ve not had in a while. The actual sensation and taste of the tea is much stronger than the memory of the tea.
We shouldn’t allow a general public feeling of tension and forced-celebration to tarnish our own enjoyment. I see too many people at Christmas time going crazy over preparation, completely glossing over the idea of ‘selfless giving’. Giving at Christmas isn’t a duty, you don’t owe anyone shit, but it is something we get to do. The ability to choose to give, and then to actually go and do it, is much more beautiful than having to give. Valentine’s day is the same. A bought card is nothing compared to learning to genuinely appreciate a person. But at the same time, a bought card can mean everything. It’s all about the effort you put in on an emotional level I think.
Reclaim the day that may be over-commercialised, celebrate it on your own terms, and remember to try and give love out as much as possible x