Last weekend I’ve watched the whole Valentine’s parade in the Netherlands; well it started from February 1st, to give enough time for any Dutch romantic gesture to break free, as we are not in the most romantic country in the world… But if you bear with me till the end, I will tell you what a beautiful thing I’ve learnt from the Dutch culture regarding Valentine’s.
Back to last Saturday. I must say, I liked what I saw. Clearly there were more women at the manicure parlor (this is why I had to wait 45 min for my turn – this part I didn’t like one bit), more hair-does, more people nicely dressed, more flowers, more tables booked in the restaurants; overall a cozy-lovely vibe.
So I couldn’t help but notice: we do need a Valentine’s Day in our lives, to remind ourselves not to love, but to show that we love. Yeah, what’s new in that, we all heard that before! But I’m going to take this idea further and say that we need – and we have! – milestones to keep everything alive, as otherwise… life happens and we forget to celebrate the things that are most dear to us. And I have a few examples to prove it. (This is not an actual article, but there was not enough space on twitter for it…). Here it goes:
Exhibit number one: Birthdays
Do you think that if we didn’t have a day dedicated to ourselves, would it ever be a spontaneous moment when most people we know suddenly called and wished all the best to us? Hmm… I hate to say it, but nope!
Exhibit number two: New Year’s Eve
If no “end-of-the-year-slash-beginning-of-year” existed, would you ever feel the need to review your year’s accomplishments and make new plans? We all need a designated day for turning a new chapter in our lives and leave behind the old one.. Otherwise, we’ll live in a continuous present. Like mice on a wheel!
Exhibit number 3: Holidays & Weekends
I do believe that if it weren’t for the existence of the term “holiday”, we’d work ourselves to death. Some would say that holiday is an absolute necessity, while a birthday is not, so how can they both be considered the same thing? Well is this right I wonder? Aren’t in fact the acknowledgements and the importance given to us, more important than relaxation? Try to contradict me on that.
Exhibit number 4: Weddings
Speaking of feeling important, why do you think weddings exist? I should have started with that, as they are an exacerbated Valentine’s Day all along. They should be in fact called Valentine’s Reloaded or With a Vengeance. If two people found each other and are clearly in love, why put on a show? Because they need to celebrate their love with the others. Because their relationship needs to be the center of the universe for a day to remind them how important it is. And of course because every little girl dreamt about being a princess for a day. Amen to that!
Exhibit number 5: Memorial Day
We also need a day to remind us of the ones we loved. No matter how fond they were to us, life happens and you start to forget. You start with the little things and then you can’t remember the sound of their laughter. Ops, when did this become so sad? I thought we were talking about love! Rewind, rewind.
Yeah, Valentine’s Day. Well, it’s like a tattoo: it reminds you about something important and most of the times it’s visible to others.
So how can we make some people stop hating Valentine’s? This is what I learnt from the Dutch: they don’t celebrate only romantic love, but love in any form. Next to me in the restaurant on Saturday there were two girlfriends, not at all lesbian, who were exchanging gifts just to show their affection. And one table further was a young man with his mom. Awww… If we could extend the definition of love, maybe our hearts would open up more to Valentine’s Day.