Valentine’s Day

On my one trip out of the safety of le casa today, I observed the people around me and was amazed at how serious most people took Valentine’s Day here in the Philippines.

RED EVERYWHERE, LOVE SONGS BLARING THE WHOLE DAY, FLOWERS AND CHOCOLATES BEING HANDED OUT AS TOKENS OF AFFECTION, AND COUPLES ALL OVER THE PLACE.

Culture shock, much?

Back in Macau, this day usually felt normal and nothing out of the ordinary ever seemed to have happened. Or I just never took notice.

But anyhow, I find this celebration of love kept to just one day in a year very constricting in a way. I suppose it is a sweet thing to have just one day dedicated to love, but what makes Valentine’s Day special when everything about it is so common nowadays? If everyone is being sweet and lovey-dovey in just one day all together, what makes any gesture made on that day special any more? Get what I mean?

This isn’t meant to be a rant of sorts, but merely my sharing of what Valentine’s Day seems to be like to me. The core of this whole thing really is the realisation that sprung out at me while I saw the umpteenth heart-shaped balloon vendor surrounded by other Valentine’s Day themed merchandise (red heart-shaped chocolate boxes with heart-shaped chocolates in them no doubt, as well as flowers all over the place). And that realisation is the thought that Valentine’s Day actually is quite cruel. Not wholly maybe, but in a certain perspective.

There’s a build-up of expectations that are never usually met, leading to disappointment. And if the expectations are indeed met, then there’s the next year to anticipate and worry about, since now you have to top the previous year with something totally new and unique and sweet and awesome. And we humans have been on this planet for so long, I doubt anything new can be thought up. Unless you think long and hard to get a new thang out. So kudos to those who do. And that’s just for couples.

To those who want to get in on the whole Valentine’s Day thing, but are single, will clamour to get partnered up just for this one day (maybe not all, but most), regardless of the fact that they may actually be rushing things too much. Then the heartbreak and disappointment after a few days, weeks, or months from Valentine’s Day, because they realise they just weren’t right for one another in the first place and were just forced into the partnership due to the whole anxiety of feeling unwanted and left out if they didn’t get together with someone on the red-hearts day.

Then there are the bitter people. ‘Nuff said.

Although this yearly love celebration may seem cruel, it still is pretty sweet and I’m not totally against it. But as someone told me, they would celebrate Halloween today instead, further making me realise that Valentine’s Day is just another man-made celebration of sorts, like all others, blown out of proportion. It’s a great day for entrepreneurs though, and I’ll give them that. And as I always say every year, Valentine’s Day seems more like a capitalist’s invention to pilfer unsuspecting love-sick addled individuals. Harsh that may be, but isn’t there some truth in that? Some people spend so much on this day that it can cripple some into broke-hoodness.

I’m honestly not bitter and although this may seem like a tirade, it isn’t. Just, y’know, sharing. Valentine’s Day can be cruel, leading to many people feeling bitter about the day. But it’s best not to be. After all, there are still family and friends around us we do love. It’s best to invest this time to love those people instead of feeling bitter about something one does not have. And being in a relationship isn’t the end-all and be-all of life.

Just shifting one’s perspective about the day can cheer one’s melancholic mood immensely. And honestly, there are other things to worry about, more so than one’s love-life, no? Poverty rampant in our society, corruption in hidden-yet-obvious places, and wicked crimes all around. As I heard from someone, drugs is a severe issue in Cebu, followed by incest. It may or may not be true, but that’s something that makes me feel grimmer.

Valentine’s Day seems quite a secular day in my opinion, but it doesn’t lessen it’s importance in people’s lives, drawing some people closer. It’s great to celebrate love, but the expectations put around it during this day just seems overly done. Simple gestures are enough, are they not?

Anyway, as I listen to competing stereos blaring different love songs from different parts of the neighbourhood outside, I’ll end with this.

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!

And even better…HAPPY SUNDAY! There’s school tomorrow!

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