February is the month of LOVE. The Valentine’s Day (or St Valentine’s Day) is a tradition almost as old as Christianity itself. Celebrating romance and romantic love with anything from poems, cards covered in red hearts, showering the loved ones with gifts and flowers, candle lit dinners all the way to big gestures and holiday getaways. All of this on February 14th.
There seem to be two opposite trends associated with the holiday: on one hand the gifts and gestures have gone bigger, but on the other hand many complain that the day has become too commercialised and choose not to celebrate in any way.
Initially a card was enough and, although it is difficult to confirm the exact number, it is estimated that we send around a billion Valentines cards each year. Some sources estimate that 25 million cards are sent in the UK- usually to a loved one, but some people admit to sending a card for themselves. And, although in some countries, like Finland, the festivities on the 14th February can be dedicated to friends, most of the world sees the day as celebration of romance and romantic love. In the long tradition of the Valentine’s Day, the gestures have gone bigger. Cards are still popular, but they go along boxes of chocolates and flowers. Some buy more personalised gifts. Others choose the day for big declarations of love and marriage proposals. Again, confirming the statistics is not easy, but in a survey of more than 2,000 people in the UK, one fifth (21 %) of married respondents said they got engaged on Valentine’s Day.
Some argue that big gestures, including marriage proposals, should be made more personal and choosing the most commercial “Love day” of the year takes away from the magic. The red hearts, red roses, heart shaped chocolate boxes, balloons, Valentine’s cards and other decorations dominate the shop shelves for weeks leading up to the big day. And if we truly love someone, shouldn’t we declare our love more than just once a year?
When love begins, love also ends- according to Facebook (and relationship status updates), breakups around Valentine’s Day are a lot more common than between April and November. So maybe February is the time to re-evaluate ourselves and our definition of love, time think what truly matters. The teddy bears and heart shaped chocolate boxes are just symbolic after all. But love is love…
The whole month of February is also dedicated to promoting all kinds of love, as it is the LGBT+ History Month. Now, this is a young tradition and was first celebrated in 2005. The aim is to provide free resources for education settings, businesses, services and organisations to help them celebrate and usualise LGBT+ lives in their full diversity.
And if you haven’t been lucky enough to find romantic love (or maybe got dumped just before the big day), there is a day in February for you, too. Singles Awareness Day (or Singles Appreciation Day) is celebrated on February 15th each year. It is an unofficial holiday celebrated by single people. It serves as a complement to Valentine’s Day for people who are single, and not married or in a romantic relationship.
So there you have. Celebrate love this month in whichever way you like. Send your loved one a card or flowers, propose to you partner, break up, or read an article about LGBT+ community. Or, if you choose to love yourself, you can always send yourself a card and pretend it’s from a secret admirer- nobody will ever know.