For anyone that's in a relationship, you know what that means: dinner reservations, flowers, nice gifts, love poems (or bad attempt at love poems), even some bad gifts. For anyone that's single, today is pretty much the worst day ever, one that is saturated with condemnation and criticism. Valentine's Day is supposedly celebrating the Christian Saint, Valentine (or Valentinus), and may have originated from the Roman fertility festival known as Lupercalia.
However, in today's world, VDay comes with Valentine's Day Tweets, V-Day marketing promotions, Facebook pages painted in red hearts, Hollywood movies dedicated to the day (OK, not surprising)...
|Even a Google Doodle! Bonus: check out this link for the same video, but also for some cool comments at the bottom.
|Vera Moda (clothing store) - Hamra
|Both photos are from Librairie Antoine (bookstore) - Hamra
|COOP (grocer) - Hamra
|Maliks/Books and Pens (stationery) - Bliss St.
|Deek Duke (restaurant) - Hamra
|MTC Touch Valentine's Day advertisement and the Almaza VDay advert below
|It's in our art too. Taken from the blog of my friend Sareen, Ink on the Side
|It might be too small to read, so just check the link
|Meet ʻAṯtaru. You might remember her from the second Hell Boy movie.
But it was only when early Christian martyr(s) named Valentine became a saint(s) and celebrated through the Catholic Church by Pope Gelasius I in the late 3rd century AD on the day February 14th based on the Gregorian Calendar to "replace" the pagan feast Lupercalia (Dude, it's JUST like Christmas!). It was later in the European Middle Ages did Valentine's Day become associated with love and romance. According to The History Channel, "During the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds' mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of Valentine's Day should be a day for romance." Over time, the love theme was expanded even more, and it transformed from a religious celebration with elements of romance to a full-fledged day dedicated to love.
So, here we are again... two camps: one pro Valentine's, the other against. There's really enough rhetorical and argumentative ammunition (so to speak) for both sides to debate each other, but neither is really going to win. Valentine's Day is here, and it's probably going to stay, just like our subjective opinions about it and regardless if whether they reflect Lebanese or more "Western" conceptions of love.
My opinion is that if you're in a relationship, do what you would normally do. Why wait for one day to treat your sweetheart better when you could do it every day? Go out and eat somewhere, just so no one has to cook. If you drink, go buy some wine. Watch a movie. Light a candle (or two... or three...). Talk about how you first met. Talk about how you felt. Talk about the feelings you shared for each other leading up to your first date; your first kiss; your togetherness. Just enjoy the night together. Forget the cliché gifts, the roses, the chocolate hearts. And if you want to do something, do something different. Make him or her a card from scratch. Write them a poem. Buy some lingerie! Just be creative, and most important of all: have fun together!
For anyone single, today shouldn't be a day to be sad. Didn't you hear? It's #InternetionalSinglesAwarenessDay! Today is YOUR DAY!! Forget those "boring, lovey-dovey" couples staying at home or eating out at a restaurant! Go have fun, meet someone new! Go out, go get drinks, go dancing! Put on some nice clothes, grab a beer or a glass of wine, flirt, smile, laugh, surround yourself with good friends, and see where the night takes you. Just because you're single doesn't mean you can't enjoy life too. Cheer up! Don't think about being lonely, think about new prospects and new loves. Don't fret about the couple making out in the corner. Make your own corner; make your own fun!
Today is a day other people have determined is a day that we should all love each other, or especially one person. Well, here at LOVEanon, I recommend doing that everyday. So enjoy yourself, enjoy life, remember that since today is the day of love, you can do much more than just be romantic. Love your mom, your dad, your sister, your brother, your friends, your pets. Love the dekaneh owner who you buy from. Love your man2oushe baker! Just love!
Most of all though: Love yourself; Love your life; Spread the love.
Happy Valentine's Day,
P.S. if anyone's looking for a place to go tonight for dinner, I suggest Spaghetteria Italiana in Ain El Mreisseh on Dar El Mraiseh Street across from Beirut by Bike, or one of these suggestions by RagMag.
P.P.S. If you're looking for some alternative solutions as to what you can do, check out this article from Beirut.com for some funny recommendations.
UPDATE: For Valentine's Day 2013, I was interviewed by a journalist from the Daily Star (Brooke Anderson) for a feature article. You can check out a LOVEanon post I wrote about it with the full interview here.