The Slovenia Times

"Artificial" Holiday of Love - Consumerism Without Substance?


"Retailers need to come up with new events all the time," says Mirjana Ule, a sociologist from the Ljubljana Faculty of Social Sciences.

Americanisation of the way of life has seeped through here and Valentine's is one symptom of that.

It may be a nice holiday for youths, especially young lovers, but in the long term it cannot make interpersonal relations better, according to her.

Valentine's is "not an authentic holiday, it is an event forced by consumerism that temporarily spice up life for a couple of days", she said.

While Ule echoes a sentiment often heard on airwaves and in academic discourse, youths appear to approach the holiday with far less gravitas.

It is "a nice holiday," says Matija Krope Lenarčič, the head of the Association of Secondary School Students. It is "increasingly popular" among his peers, especially among couples.

Krope Lenarčič also acknowledges that presents are not the main aspect. "A little gift suffices."

Nomi Hrast, who chairs the Children's Parliament, adds that her generation sees Valentine's as something that connects her generation.

"We see Valentine's as something perfectly normal, which has been here all the time...It is a very positive holiday, especially for youths."

Its main message is love. "It contrasts with the worries surrounding us. We are open to it and consider it fun."

Valentine's in its current form has indeed been imported from Anglo-Saxon countries, where it has a tradition dating back over half a millennium.

But it is also rooted in Slovenian folk culture, albeit in a slightly different context.

As the Slovenian saying goes, "Valentine holds the key to the roots". It is hence a celebration of the reawakening of nature as winter slowly gives way to spring.

Perhaps the transition to the American take on the holiday was facilitated by another traditional holiday, St. Gregory day on 12 March.

Considered the day when "birds wed", it has a much stronger romantic note. It was long forgotten but perhaps partially due to Valentine's it is being slowly revived.


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