Valentine’s Day: special moment or manufactured marketing grab

By: Neha Lobana

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and while some people are planning what to do with their special someone that night, others scornfully refer to it as a made-up “Hallmark holiday.”

A recent survey done in the United Kingdom found that more than half of British couples will not be celebrating Valentine’s Day this year for two key reasons: excessive cost and over-commercialisation. Similarly, RetailMeNot.ca conducted a survey which revealed 78 per cent of Canadians feel that Valentine’s Day is overrated.

Valentine’s Day is garishly paraded in commercialized cards, hearts, candies, flowers and much more. If you walk into your local supermarket or pharmacy sometime this week, you’ll find an entire section devoted to Valentine’s gifts. Companies such as jewelry makers launch commercials around this time showcasing pieces ranging from engagement rings to necklaces and bracelets for that significant other. These marketing and commercial tricks often add pressure to those in relationships, making them feel that Valentine’s Day is more about splurging than spending time with their loved one.

Anti-Valentine’s Day individuals say that love doesn’t happen on one day of the year, and getting gifts doesn’t validate a person or the love within the relationship. Moreover, people who aren’t in romantic relationships shouldn’t feel bad about their situation.

In a recent interview on Global News, observer Rachel Wallace said Valentine’s Day just doesn’t make much sense to her.

“I don’t think people should feel horrible to be alone on Valentine’s Day because it’s supposed to be about love as a concept and not about your own current status. I don’t think the strength of a relationship should be measured by the level of effort put into a celebration of the one day,” said Wallace.

Founder of Friend of a Friend Matchmaking, Sofi Papamarko told the Toronto Star that individuals should embrace the love instead of celebrating Valentine’s Day.

“Throwing my arms around a Hallmark holiday felt disingenuous. Not unlike the holiday season, Valentine’s Day can be a painful and lonely time for many. So instead of embracing February the 14th and all associated ephemeral trappings of romance (fancy chocolates, flowers, marriage certificates).… I’m embracing the free expression of love itself.”

Conversely, a writer for the Lewiston Tribune, Ruthie Prasil encourages everyone to love Valentine’s Day.

“Anyone can celebrate Valentine’s Day and that’s a fact: parents with their children, married couples, dating couples, best friends, you and your favourite barista, teachers and students, employees and employers; Valentine’s Day is a time to tell people you care about them,” she wrote on the site.

Whether you’re anti or pro Valentine’s Day, the day itself is a special reminder to everyone that you do not need to be in a relationship to celebrate love. The reality is you most likely have a flock of people such as your family, friends, or even pets whom you love and care about. With the busy lives we lead, we often forget to remind these people how much they mean to us — and that’s where the reminder of Valentine’s Day can help.

And whether you’re spending this Valentine’s Day with your lover, friends, family, pet or by yourself, just remember that there’s always a bright side to this holiday: you can always depend on stores discounting their candies and chocolates the day after.

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