Alla hjärtans dag – All Hearts Day
My Swedish Valentine. Tonight, my man and I will be celebrating Valentine’s Day or Alla Hjärtans Dag. We are a multicultural couple; him a Finn born in Sweden, and me born and raised in the U.S. We enjoy embracing the celebration of each others holidays. This makes for a lot of celebrating, but that is just fine by us.
There are already quite a number of holidays celebrated in Sweden, so you wouldn’t think they would need to adopt another one. But that is just what they did. Much like the adoption of Halloween here in Sweden, Valentine’s Day is a relatively new holiday, albeit not an official one.
Alla hjärtans dag began here sometime during the 1960s by florists hoping to promote sales, but it wasn’t until the 80s when the holiday began to be popular. The notion of florists hoping to increase sales is surprising to me because I see flower vendors and floral boutiques on every street corner in Gothenburg. Ladies and gentlemen, often carry bouquets to and from the city and it doesn’t seem to matter if a holiday is involved or not. The purchase of flowers appears to be a beloved cultural past-time in Göteborg. I fully support this!
There are those among us who reject Valentine’s Day believing that is it over commercialized and simply another excuse for holiday spending. Commercialization of the holiday is quite true in the U.S., in fact, you just can’t avoid it there. But here in Sweden the holiday takes on a sweeter and more romantic feel. A quiet evening spent together, flowers, a bit of champagne, or maybe even an evening out for dinner. We are not hit over the head with the holiday … Just a few reminders in store front windows and the occasional newspaper advertisement. But make no mistake, it is a popular holiday indeed.
Of course, every day should be a day of appreciation for those we love. I’m not here to argue the ethics of Valentine’s Day. For me, I adore it. I also appreciate the awareness which the holiday brings to those who might sometimes forget to let their loved ones know how much they are appreciated. But for today, without analysis or complaint, let’s just celebrate Love.
Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone! – Glad alla hjärtans dag allihopa!
And a special shout out to my beloved, Jag älskar dig.