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Does Valentine’s Day Really Mean Anything Beyond The Gift Giving Today?

Posted: February 11, 2021

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The hype around Valentine’s Day makes it just a capitalist wet dream, for the gift sellers, gift givers, and gift receivers. But what about love?

On the eve of Valentine’s Day, last year, a message landed on my phone. The text read: “Happy Galentine’s Day”!

I was totally clueless what it was all about. But since the note was from a very dear friend, I instantly knew the occasion had something beautiful connected to it.

I learned that I was 10 years behind, because Galentine’s Day has been in vogue since 2010. It’s the day when women celebrate love for their lady friends, single or not.

The history of Galentine’s Day

Galentine’s Day was created by the fictional character Leslie Knope of the popular American sitcom Parks and Recreation and is traced to episode 16 of season 2. Leslie gathers her girlfriends for a brunch of waffles and declares: “Every February 13, my lady friends and I leave our husbands and our boyfriends at home, and we just come and kick it, breakfast-style!”

Quite a neat idea, and a reason for another celebration prior to Valentine’s Day! Why not? It is always energizing and refreshing to spend some quality time in the company of like-minded female friends. What kind of bothers me is that these events are so blown out of proportion with the glitz and glamour attached to them!

Valentine’s Day, a capitalist fantasy

My better half, in spite of being one of the nicest souls on earth, has never ever come to me with a bunch of roses on Valentine’s Day! Well, I had never expected to be gifted a bunch either. But if he is reading this post, I would like to say that I have always appreciated and will not mind any present he gives me on my birthday or our anniversary in the future!

Jokes apart, yes, most of us are pleased when we receive a gift which is a token of love and appreciation. But the sad part is when any sentimental tradition or occasion gets drowned in the sea of materialism. Gift giving is so important to this day that there are legit surveys on gift giving for the hype around Valentine’s Day that are conducted.

I came across a fascinating piece: “How Big a Deal Should You Make of Valentine’s Day?”. The author presents a dialogue between a person and his alter ego. It’s an internal debate that one has about celebrating Valentine’s Day with his wife.

The conversation takes an interesting turn when the logistics of expenditure come into play. Should it be an expensive Hallmark card or an e-card with a sweet note? Should it be some fancy restaurant or an affordable McDonald’s? Should it be diamonds or just costume jewelry? These questions pop up in the chat. While the person wants to do something economical, the alter ego prompts him to spend more.

The discussion ends with the individual snubbing his alter ego and asking: “Next you’ll want me to take Leslie out to dinner for St. Patrick’s Day.” The alter ego replies, “In Ireland”.

The article really provided food for thought. It will be unfair to make generalizations, but many a time, individuals are driven to do certain things because they think of how others might judge them. It may not be something that one does from his or her heart. It’s the peer pressure or the inclination to go with the flow around them.

Hype around Valentine’s Day, but love can still flow!

I have a disclaimer. I’m not speaking for or against celebrations of any type because it’s a matter of personal choice. Happiness is what we can create for ourselves, and an individual has the liberty to do so in any way he or she desires.

We can’t be judgmental about those who celebrate Valentine’s Day in a grand fashion. Conversely, we can’t pass a verdict that anyone who does not celebrate the occasion is a less interesting person.

The boundaries are limitless. Love can spread even without the presents, the roses, the chocolates, and the candlelight dinners. May commercialization and materialism not reach a point to usurp true human feelings and emotions! Valentine’s Day or not, let the love organically flow among mankind!

Image source: a still from the movie Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na

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Born in India, Rashmi Bora Das moved to the United States in the early nineties.

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