It’s that time of the year again when you can’t walk down the high street without being bombarded by the cheesiness of red hearts in every possible form… From heart shaped chocolates and tacky mugs emblazoned with declarations of love to clothing and stuffed animals, it’s literally impossible to avoid having the consumerist idea of “love” shoved down your throat at every corner in the run up to Valentine’s day.
According to legend, the holiday is in commemoration of one of several saints named Valentinus and as it has no basis in Islamic history, Muslims are dissuaded from celebrating the occasion, with various religious leaders decreeing it haraam. Haraam or not, it doesn’t shock me to hear that close to 150 million Valentine’s Day cards are exchanged annually, only second to the number of cards exchanged for Christmas. The average Briton will spend £41 on their partner or spouse and as a nation we are estimated to spend £1.6bn this coming Valentine’s Day. If you were not previously convinced of the opportunistic tactics employed by retailers to tug at your heart and purse strings, this should suffice to persuade you that at best Valentine’s Day is an attempt to bolster post-Christmas sales after the January slump.
With that being said, everyone wants to feel appreciated and shown some love. Society dictates that this outpouring of love should coincide with the 14th of February but I say it feels all the more special when it’s a small gesture that is unexpected, out of the blue and not motivated by a holiday engineered to drive consumerism.
Since the turn of the century, there has been a large rise in anti Valentine’s sentiments from others who feel the same way. Driven by singles who are made to feel inadequate by the holiday as well as others who refuse to get sucked in by the romance industry, Anti Valentines has grown in popularity over recent years with anti Valentine parties and cards more in demand than ever before. A simple google search directed me to several upcoming Anti Valentine’s Day events, promising no cheesiness and contrived romance.
The Anti Valentine movement proves that love doesn’t have to come neatly wrapped in an expensive package and there’s more reason than ever not to buy into the Valentine’s day sham. Pick a random day, save yourself a ton of money by not buying red roses with over inflated prices and show some love when it is least expected.