Roses are red but Valentine’s is DEAD

Store displays on the streets for Valentines Day - Picture by Kudakwashe Hunda

Store displays on the streets for Valentines Day – Picture by Kudakwashe Hunda

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Life is often a rat race.

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And in pursuit of our dreams, we often take certain things and people for granted. Which is perhaps why, like it or hate it, days like St Valentine’s (February 14) come along to fix right some of those wrongs and atone for the “crimes” we commit against those we hold dear.

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In pursuit of success at work, excellence in other endeavours, raising good children, and providing a roof and food, we can lose sight of the more important things in life – such as love.

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But not everyone is thrilled with Valentine’s Day.

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Social media are already awash with jokes such as, “No Valentine’s Day formed against my wallet shall prosper.”

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This is because the day has become highly commercialised and many men think February 14 is an excuse for women to cream them off their hard-earned cash. After all, it is only in a leap year when the roles are reversed and women are expected to spoil their men.

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Contrary to contemporary beliefs and actions, the spirit of St Valentine’s Day is not hinged on the amount of money spent: it is the thought that counts.

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[READ ALSO: Valentine’s is Dead: ‘Not in the name of love’]

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Valentine’s Day is vilified by some because it has been heavily commercialised, much like Easter, Christmas and birthdays.

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This has made it easy to simply dismiss the day of love that has its roots in Europe’s Middle Ages as a Western concept that really has no place in societies such as ours.

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Yes, the day is a foreign concept, but that does not mean it cannot add value to our relationships and enrich our lives.

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While those with the resources are free to celebrate the material way, it is also possible for low-income earners to enjoy the day and take it for what it is – a small celebration and appreciation of the people we love.

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Star FM news producer and presenter Itai Mutinhiri believes a growing miserliness and lack of creativity has poisoned the mindset of many.

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“People should just buy their loved ones gifts, period. Those that do not have the means should improvise to make the day worthwhile. An open mind is always key,” she says.

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For the affluent, popular Valentine’s Day activities include but are not limited to staying in luxurious hotels in beautiful locations and having candle-lit diners at the finest eateries.

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Cards, flowers and other gifts are exchanged as expressions of love.

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But there are non-expensive ways of showing love. For instance, spending quality time at home with your partner, cooking a meal and just doing those little things that men often overlook can have a world of meaning for the special lady.

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Television personality Lindiwe Majoni says though love is celebrated on a daily basis, a specific day of celebrations is not amiss.

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“Love demonstrates respect and brings the best out of a person. Though love between partners is celebrated every day, Valentine’s takes the celebrations to a new height every year. The day rejuvenates affection, revives hopes that were downcast and life becomes clear and meaningful,” says Lindiwe.

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She adds: “Valentine’s Day separates the everyday from the special to emphasise and demonstrate the importance of the loved one in your life. Women are emotional beings driven by passion, in that regard it is my belief that men should understand the importance of this day to the female species.

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“However, this is not to say that women should not also make a concerted effort for their spouses in celebrating this wonderful day.”

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Valentine’s is not all about romantic love.

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It is about platonic love as well, in addition to appreciation for anyone of importance in your life.

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This is why some sons buy gifts for their mothers on this day, why some people choose to celebrate it with friends who have made a difference in their lives.

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Of course, the dominant discourse on the day is on romance.

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“It’s always nice to set a day aside to go out celebrate. I think couples should celebrate Valentine’s Day because love is central to any community. In these days where marriages are threatened, you should appreciate the one you have and show love not just on Valentine’s but every day,” notes musician Tariro neGitare.

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So yes, commercialisation may be killing St Valentine’s Day. But it can still be special.

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[READ ALSO: Valentine’s is Dead: ‘Not in the name of love’]