Over the years, Valentine’s Day has become highly commercialised. An article by www.theguardian. com says that for chocolatiers, jewellers, restaurateurs and greeting card manufacturers, Valentine's Day is, after Christmas, the most lucrative moment of the year.
Today, like in previous years, many people will succumb to this commercialization allure that Valentine’s Day brings, to spend money they may or may not have, just to prove their love to their significant other.
So, who really benefits from Valentine’s Day? Are we obsessing over something that shouldn’t be? Is Valentine’s Day overrated? Have we turned something intended to bring lovers together into a mere spectacle?
*IJ, a talented makeup artist has this say: “I hate Valentine’s Day with a passion. Why do we have to put so much pressure on ourselves over one day? It’s almost as though we are forcing romance. But should romance and love be forced?”
Michael Akinola, a Software Engineer also detests the pressure Valentine’s Day puts on people, particularly the men. “I feel like there is this unfair expectation put on the man. As the man, I am expected to go out of my way to remember Valentine’s Day. I have to come up with something that will wow my girl. I have to live up to that expectation and it can be one big headache”.
John Agwu said: “Valentine’s Day is special to me and I celebrate it with my wife because it doubles as our anniversary. I proposed to my wife on Valentine’s Day and married her exactly one year after. So, it’s a special day to us”.
Nan, a Chef, wondered why love has to be expressed only on February 14th. “Love and romance should be organic. I don’t want my boyfriend to buy me gifts just because it’s Valentine’s Day. Such gift loses its meaning to me. I show him I love him every day and he does same too. Chocolates, flowers and fancy dinners are great but the best gifts in life are priceless”.
Twenty-five year old Sarah who recently broke up with her boyfriend of 2 years hates that Valentine’s Day reminds her that she has no special someone in her life. She wishes that Valentine’s Day can be cancelled or at best, postponed till she has a man to celebrate it with.
Victoria Mmanya, a legal practitioner equates Valentine's Day with New Year Resolution. In her view, love shouldn't be a one-day event. Love should be shown every single day of the year.
"I think Valentine's Day is a convenient excuse for people to misbehave every other day of the year, all the while believing that one day will be enough to prove love", she said.
OppyH, a Programs Assistant with a Youth Development Organisations believes that showing love shouldn't be confined to just one day of the year.
According to her: "14th February has been misconstrued by a lot of people who see it as a day to be promiscuous. People shouldn't have to be compelled to show love on just a particular day. That's hypocrisy, in my opinion".
I like to think that there was a time in my life that Valentine’s Day was my thing. Like millions of other people, I was captivated by the mushiness of it all. I have pleasant memories of the cards with heart drawings on them, the cute teddy bears and the perfumes I got as a teenager.
However, the older I get, the more overly commercialised, bland, cliché and stressful Valentine’s Day seems to me. I see Valentine’s Day as one big commercialization of love, relationships, romance and everything else in between. And this commercialization of love, as well as unnecessary stress is why Valentine’s Day has become overrated to me.
Am I averse to love and mushiness? Nope. Far from it. As hardcore as I can be, I still have my romantic side. On the one hand, I love that people go out of their way to show their love to other people. However, I hate the drama and spectacle that surrounds Valentine’s Day.
I hate the pressure it puts on people to put on a romantic show, buy gifts they cannot afford or spend money they do not have to prove a romantic point. I hate that someone, somewhere today, will do something he or she would rather not do just because it is Valentine’s Day. I hate that Valentine’s Day will be an ugly reminder to some single people that they do not have significant others in their lives.
No, I do not hate love. I just hate what Valentine’s Day has become.
*Some names in this article have been changed for privacy purposes.