It is January as I am writing this, and I spend so much time in town before work and there are numerous pink displays in card shops advertising the day of love. Valentine’s Day. The day that we buy presents, cards for our other half or take them out for a nice romantic dinner by candlelight. I have always been single on this day – the violins are playing – I am just kidding because this was by choice. I decided not to be so obsessed with getting a boyfriend when I was younger and I am thankful for it because now I feel way more ready.
So Valentine’s Day for me when I was younger was sending cards to my grandparents, did anyone else do this? So what is the point of this post? I decided to be a bit different to the “gift guides for Valentine’s Day” or “Romantic Weekends Away for Valentine’s Day” because I am a fraud. However, let’s embrace being single on this day for lovers. Hint, hint – move to Spain if you want to feel less bombarded with commercial marketing!
Again Molly, why are we reading this? In my About Page, I mention that I love to learn about different countries and taking on this “dumb blonde” stereotype and want to learn together with my readers. I actually loved Valentine’s Day in Spain for many reasons because it was so much more cultural than I ever thought and a nice day to spend with friends – not just boyfriends/girlfriends!
Being Single in England
If I could sum this up in one word it would be
I really don’t want to sound like a bitter single person, but the whole day has turned into at least 2 months of stress and preparation right? It really isn’t about not having a boyfriend, I am so content with being single and not too pressured on finding a boyfriend. It is the mass marketing that consumes us. I understand that businesses have to make money, but does the store really have to be covered in pink wall to wall? It’s an eye sore that my eyes can’t handle!
It isn’t just that either, when I hear my friends talk about buying presents they have so many questions, and end up getting worked up.
“How much do I spend, how much do you think he/she is spending?”
“How many presents, I don’t want to buy less for him/her than he is buying for me?”
“Do I stick with being cheesy and buy chocolates or buy something special?”
This is the singular reason why I dread being in a relationship, all these questions and worries. I mean we already buy presents for Birthdays and Christmases so we do we put ourselves through the strain (and financial strain) of trying to beat each other to the best presents? Why can’t it be simple and easy! England … let’s tone it down a bit eh? I have worked every single Valentine’s Day and my favourite has been when I was in an office and away from any people celebrating it. When I worked in a restaurant there is a forced voice that come’s out of me and there are so may times you can say “Happy Valentine’s Day” and “aww how sweet” without jaw ache. Who else sees pictures shared across Facebook of people wishing for days of dating decades back when it was simple? I do and I do agree, it is all social media sharing and wondering “oh my goodness what shall I text him/her?”. We all over think these things, let’s strip it back and enjoy the day rather than freak out about it!
Being Single in Spain
I noticed from the off-set that Spain is not so commercial when it comes to Marketing for festivities – this includes Christmas and Valentines Day. You know how in every shop on the high-street in the UK, there is some sort of massive Christmas decoration? Or there are Christmas Cards in August? Nothing like that in Spain. I honestly couldn’t find a Christmas Card to buy – it was fantastic. That is the exact same for Valentine’s Day.
I started to notice that come January, I couldn’t see any type of Marketing for Valentine’s Day. There were no big pink balloons saying “My Valentine” or anything that made us singles feel sick inside. I didn’t think much of it, perhaps I have been so accustomed to mass marketing in the UK I just blocked it out. It didn’t hit me until I woke up on Valentine’s Day. It was like any normal day at work and in town, except there were no extra romantic loved up couples with teddy bears or flowers. I didn’t understand it, I wasn’t complaining! It seemed to me that Spain didn’t celebrate on this day.
There is a public holiday Día de Sant Jordi AKA Rose and Book Day on the 23rd of April. I started seeing kiosks on the corner of streets selling books and roses or I would see people holding a book or a rose looking rather happy. I didn’t understand what it was about until I googled it. Even without knowing it, I thought it was so sincere and just wanted to know more. I found out that on this date (basically the Valentine’s Day of Spain) a guy buys a Rose for his girlfriend and the girl buys a book for their boyfriend. I mean so stripped back and simple compared to what happens in the UK.
I mean I have never bought a Valentine’s Day gift nor received one, but from what I have seen from friends they stress about what to get and how much to buy. This takes that stress away and I think makes it more personal because there is no trying to impress. It is cultural and brilliant. I honestly think if I ever lived back in Spain, even if I didn’t have a boyfriend I would buy a book for a family member or guy best mate and a rose for my mum or best girl-friends.
That weekend we also stumbled across markets by the Sagrada Familia, and we happened to come across a concert (still don’t know to this day if it was for the public holiday or just a local concert). It was based right next to the Sagrada Familia and played folk-style Spanish music. It was incredible, who thought I would be spending my Spanish Valentine’s Day Día de Sant Jordi with my two best mates in Barcelona, dancing along to a band right next to one of the most famous landmarks in the world. Such good memories!
I really wish I took more photos during Spanish Public Holidays because I would have had some great content to show you all. Something to remember in the future. What are you doing this Valentine’s Day? If it is with your other half, I hope you have a fabulous day! If you are single, embrace it I mean if we don’t laugh we will be miserable right? Buy a box of chocolates for yourself, it means nothing except you eat something nice! P.S to my future boyfriend if we are ever in Southampton for Valentines Day take me to Pere Waffle.
In all seriousness, I have a post coming up in my Meet theTravel Bloggers Series with Couple Travel Bloggers! It isn’t just solo travellers that educate me when it comes to blogging and travel it is all types of travellers. In sync with Valentine’s Day it was only right to introduce these couples!
Happy Valentine’s Day xo