Valentine’s Day in USA on 2015 was a day in when many could not celebrate the famous day dedicated to love. Most of the country was facing blizzards and storms, therefore streets and public transportation was closed most of the time. It’s great that people get together to celebrate their love. Nevertheless sometimes we ignore the fact that this is a western practice that has been completely commercialized.
In other parts of the world Hindu and Islamic traditionalist consider the holiday a cultural contamination of the west and in Saudi Arabia the celebration is banned.
In most Latin American countries the celebration of “Day of love and Friendship”, does not take place in February.
Another way to look at the Day of Love could be to hear the words of Danielle Nierenberg from Food Tank, who in her latest article calls for “ Love the Hands that Feed You”.
She writes; “ This Valentine’s Day, before planning your romantic dinner or buying roses and chocolate, think about how your choices will affect the hands that feed you.
According to the Retail Advertising and Marketing Association, the average consumer spends around US$116 on Valentine’s Day, and florists make about US$400 million in revenue. Approximately 48 percent of consumers spend money on candy and 34 percent spend money on flowers, and about 35 percent dine out.
Workers in these industries, including service workers and farm laborers, are among the lowest paid in the world. They face exposure to pesticides and sexual harassment in the workplace.
Valentine’s Day is the highest grossing day for the US$600 billion restaurant industry; yet the 4.3 million tipped workers in the United States only earn US$2.13 per hour. Unfortunately, this rate has remained the same for more than 23 years.
The choices we make as eaters can support the livelihoods of farm and restaurant workers, and organizations like the Coalition for Immokalee Workers, Fairfood, and Rainforest Alliance are gathering citizen support for workers’ rights.
This Valentine’s Day, spread the love by supporting farmworkers and demanding justice in the food system”.
Other things mentioned in her article are:
Rethink the Roses. Every rose has its thorn, and a Valentine’s Day rose is no exception. From Ecuador to Colombia to Southeast Asia, the cut flower industry is characterized by high-energy use, low labor standards, and low regulation.
Care about the Cocoa. Chocolate’s primary ingredient, cocoa, is fraught with sustainability issues, from its huge water footprint to overuse of pesticides. Africa produces more than 70 percent of the world’s cocoa, but more than 60 percent of consumption occurs in North America and Europe
Cook at Home. A 2012 survey by the Hartman Group showed nearly half of adults’ meals are eaten in front of the computer, in the car, or on the go. Valentine’s Day is a time for conviviality and to spend time with loved ones.
These and other issues may come to mind as we think of Love and how we love.
While spending money on the ones you love is very self-rewarding, spending time to think of other and act accordingly, may be the kind of love that we need to practice.
I am sure that true lovers found ways to celebrate even without going out to eat, buy roses or sending cards.
Life always gives us opportunities to review what we do and why we do it. Maybe instead of following the commercials, we can act according to our heart.
May love be with us everyday and may we extend it to others everyday!
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