The start of a New Year brings a new cycle of bank holidays and celebration days but which of these days do we still celebrate and mean it?
After seeing my friends roll their eyes at upcoming Valentine’s Day I got to thinking, does Valentine’s Day have a bad reputation? Are we so tired of having red and pink hearts, cards and other tack shoved at us that we’re unconsciously boycotting the day?
Burns night is an example of a celebration day done well. There are no cards or gifts that need to be purchased; in fact there is no external pressure to even recognise the day. Many people (myself included) celebrate quietly, with good friends, Haggis, neeps and tatties and perhaps a dram of whisky. It’s a simple event to celebrate Robbie Burns and all things Scottish. Just a few weeks later Valentine’s Day arrives with expectations that money must be spent and love must be declared. In the UK alone around £503 million is spent on cards and gifts each year. I imagine a lot of people part with their money reluctantly.
There are still 14 major bank holidays and celebration days and at least half of these are commercialised. My local supermarket started selling hot cross buns and cream eggs at the start of February in preparation for Easter. It’s these sorts of obvious money-making promotions that bring out the cynic in all of us and tarnishes our view of the celebration. But don’t get me wrong, I love celebrating. Any excuse to gather good friends around good food or to give a gift and I’m all in. But like most people, I’m tired of being sold to at every opportunity.
So, what can be done to save Valentine’s Day and the other majorly commercial holidays? Or has the heart of Valentine’s Day been struck too many times by cupid’s bow? It’s very difficult to ignore the seasonal advertising but for my part, no gifts, no cards, just home-made Thai green curry by candlelight. Romance, at least, isn’t dead.