I'm fairly ambivalent about Valentine's, myself. I have the same stock complaints as everyone else: too commercial, too tacky, too much of a competition for something that, "is not jealous, is not pompous...is not inflated".
But I gave it a little more thought after listening to one of my favorite BBC podcasts about the rise in popularity of the holiday in, of all places, India.
It seems that, despite the frowns of some conservatives, young men and young women who have had contact with this Western holiday are taking huge delight in being able to send expressions of love (or puppy love) to those that they choose.
And I thought about how often what is viewed with a jaded eye by those glutted with a certain freedom is celebrated and held dear despite its flaws by those without that freedom. I have had a few relationships over the course of my young life. Most good, some...learning experiences. But they've all been my choice. I have never suffered for the poor decisions of my aunts or parents in selecting for me someone I may meet for a few hours before the wedding.
So...yeah...Valentine's is a Hallmark holiday. Yes, the excess of pink has me seeing red. Yes, it's crass and too tied up with our consumerist fundamentalism that happiness and emotional security can be bought. But that's our fault for celebrating it that way. Holidays throughout the ages have shifted and warped in meaning. Between religions, between times. In the excess of our freedom...the 'freedom' to lead emotionally starved lives 'hooking-up' because anything else may 'limit our options' it is no wonder we view what we ourselves have made of 'love' with suspicion and cynicism.
But this year, I'm going to take a lesson from India and give a tip of my hat to all you lovers out there and your freedom to make the most dangerous and wonderful decisions freely and with your hearts.