Valentine’s Day is recognised as a significant cultural, religious, and commercial celebration of romance and romantic love across the world. However, the day is not just about love but it is also seen as a major shopping holiday where businesses take advantage to cash in on their loss.
The situation was not any different this year even with covid 19 still hovering around and affecting economic activities.
In Uganda, businesses that cater to romance used Valentine’s Day to breathe new life into sales.
Many here believe the commercialisation of the day has overshadowed the component of love, which is supposed to be the focus of the day. However, others say it is the most romantic day of the year and should not be seen as expensive as portrayed.
Chef Maria Aguja, who works at Jokoni Restaurant in Kampala, told Anadolu Agency that while Valentine’s Day may be a traditional holiday about love, there’s nothing wrong with the tendency to spend in connection with the day.
Love is absolutely free, but Valentine's Day is not, she said.
“No one is saying limit all your love to just Valentine’s Day and spend all your hard-earned savings. But consider it a scheduled romantic day. Take your spouse out, make them forget COVID-19 stress. Do your own thing for once. Book a dinner at one of the luxurious restaurants. Plan for your intimacy, and use this to set new standards in your relationship,” she said.
However others also believe, said the day is only manufactured for people who only try to love once a year.
“Shouldn't we just be showing our spouses how much we love them every day?” she said.
Shemei Ndawula, a florist in Uganda’s capital Kampala said it is a myth that men are not romantic, saying that they only have no incentive to be romantic.
According to him, more male customers buy flowers and bouquets for their loved ones than women, adding flowers being the common gift for Valentine’s Day, most of his sales are from men.
To those who look down on this day, saying they don’t need just one day to show that they love their spouses, he wondered when they ever show love.
“This could be the moment that actually a marriage needs to freshen up!” he said.
“In a society where displaying affection in public is still frowned upon, I think Valentine’s Day is for us more than anyone anywhere else. Someone came up with a day where love need not be body abstract but, rather, intentional and could build a beautiful thing,” he said.