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should we love or demonize valentines day?

should we love or demonize valentines day?

no one knows for sure the origins of valentine's day. it is thought to be a mixture of pagan traditions, with the lupercalia festival celebrating fertility and dedicated to faunus (the roman god of agriculture), and a mixture of catholic traditions, with at least two valentine saints performing acts of courage in the name of love (one defying emperor claudius III and secretly marrying young lovers, and the other writing a letter to his beloved signed "your valentine" before he died).
the fact is that long after its inception, this date ceased to be a consensual celebration. while some like to use the day to perform romantic acts, others think it's nothing more than a marketing scheme.

and if we find ourselves single on this day, whether by choice or not, then this day seems to exist only to annoy us. perhaps we could all adopt the estonian and finnish tradition and use this day to celebrate platonic love as well. known as ystävän päivä in finnish and sõbrapäev in estonian, friend's day is celebrated by singles and couples alike. 

so is there an objectively correct answer?
it's true that valentine's day is exploited by commercial marketing. by creating a lot of gifts for this particular day, they are in a way conditioning the consumer, who, if they choose not to buy, could somehow hurt the feelings of their loved one. that's why store windows are filled with gifts and products with hearts and pink and red on them. restaurants are full and hotels are launching promotions for romantic getaways.

this attitude gives rise to the anti-consumerist critique that romantics deserve better, more authentic and sustainable ways of expressing their affection. gestures that actually transcend the moment but reflect a commitment to the person and the relationship. the popular idea that christmas is when we want it to be can and should be applied to this date - valentine's day is when we want it to be.
on the other hand, with the busy lives we lead, there's nothing like a celebration to wake us up for the opportunity to show our better half that romance is alive and well. a gesture of affection that comes almost at the command of the alarm clock, but is real. it always feels good, we have to admit.

cláudia cavaleiro the editor in chief for CINCO editorial. born in '82 in coimbra, she is graduated in philosophy from the university of coimbra. passionate about books and podcasts in a geek kind of way, she always find something interesting to research. loves to bring awareness to social problems and loves working at CINCO!

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