Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Happy un-valentine's day!

How and why we celebrate Valentine's Day is beyond me. Do we even know the story behind or origin of this day? I think it is one of the overrated celebrations at present. Sure, I understand we all feel giddy and excited over the idea of having a love day. All the not-so-surprising gifts we receive (i.e. chocolates, flowers, and cards), candlelit dinners, and romantic dates. All the chocolate ads and bright red colors in stores. Couples painstakingly put efforts on finding the perfect gift for each other, while seemingly alienated singles simply hang out with friends. Sure, I love it when people are in love; it's a contagious feeling and it's in the air these days.

In some cultures, valentine's day is a huge money-making business, no doubt about it. Think of the millions of cards, chocolate boxes, and bunches of flowers exchanged worldwide! Forget about the environment, unless you are going "green" on valentine's day or you are one of the creative types who can virtually create something special out of nothing.

In Japan, it's the women who give something to their good male friends, colleagues, and partners. What happened to gender equality eh? Well, thankfully, sometime in March, men are supposed to return back the favor. In other words, on average, you get to receive 5-10 boxes of chocolate (or something else), depending on how many you gave and how many bothered to return your gesture of affection. At any rate, forget about calories and dieting.

In Norway, valentine's day almost coincides with winter vacation. Perhaps there is some kind of festivity and celebratory feeling to it, particularly among the younger generation. However, I reckon that Norwegians are generally guarded against such dominant "foreign and imported cultures". So, even if the retail industry and commercialization may have played a key role in bringing in those red hearts and valentine goodies, valentine's day will not be celebrated to a large extent in Norway. At least not so soon.

When I was in grade school, I remember making handmade valentine's day cards for my parents. At the age of 13, I received my first artfully hand painted valentine's card. And a poem a year after. And some flowers too. Celebrating love day was simpler then. It was all about the thought and the personal touch.

So, when my husband asked me today how should we celebrate this day? Well, we won't. Simply because each day is our valentine's day.

Happy un-valentine's day!


Lookingforthehornbill said...

Fully agreed, phoenix. Love can be in the air any time. My bigger half filled the house with orchids, but that was last Sunday, and because I had been away for 2 weeks. Not very greeny of course, but highly uplifting for the couple. And in addition to love, flu germs are in the air at the moment. So we'll be more romantic... next week.

Phoenix said...

What a sweet husband you have there lookingforthehornbill! I pray that the flu germs will disappear soon so that you keep the "love day" alive and flaming.