Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentine's Day in Sweden

Valentine’s Day has come and gone. It was a bit different being in Sweden as opposed to the US for this holiday. Not quite the same really. In fact dinner consisted of a pizza from the local gas station/pizza place. Yup, that’s how I roll romantic. And it was nice.

While the Swedes celebrate Valentine’s Day it is not nearly as commercial of an enterprise as back home. I didn’t feel bombarded with reminders to buy chocolates, roses, teddy bears, and every other imaginable romantic symbol that might convince DCP that I’m a pretty good guy. I didn’t see ads reminding me that diamonds are clearly the best way to show my love. I didn’t even see any of those ridiculous singing telegrams. Which was a relief.

The holiday just doesn’t do much for me. Seems like an excuse to blow some money. And don’t get me wrong. I’m all for a little capitalism, but come on. If I followed the blueprint laid out for the perfect Valentine’s Day I would have spent half of my yearly income. Which either doesn’t reflect well on my income, or reflects very poorly on what the commercials are trying to convince me to do.

I wonder how the holiday has evolved though. Is it being Americanized? Is it becoming a bigger deal? Like Halloween, slowly making its way into line-up of holidays. I have nothing to really compare it to having not spent many Valentine’s Days in Sweden. What I did see was a relaxed Valentine’s Day. There wasn’t much to it. Maybe that’s why I liked it. Simple.

It seems like a lot of holidays here in Sweden are like that. Just kind of simple. Except for Christmas. Which permeates all walks of life. From clothes, to baked goods, to the frozen foods section. It was amazing. And even more exhausting than an American Christmas.

So Welcome to Sweden. A land of simple holidays. Kind of.


  1. Come on? Pizza from a gas station!! How romantic!! Hope you at least got a flower for DCP!!

  2. Honestly, as long as there is genuine emotional connection in a relationship, Valentine's Day is everyday. No money/gifts/flowers necessary.

  3. America definitely places too much of an emphasis on Valentine's Day... My boyfriend and I said we wouldn't get each other anything simply because 1) we don't want anything and 2) we don't care for commercial holidays. However, he told a good (married) friend of ours that I didn't want anything and he (the friend) said that any girl who says she doesn't want anything for VD is lying and that he ought to get me something. So, he got me lilies. Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful, I just wish things were a bit simpler here.

  4. it is definately too commercialized in US. Just anotehr excuse to get people to spend money on candy and "stuff"

  5. @anonymous - it was delicious pizza for the record. and no flowers either. we've had a bad habit of killing flowers lately. but she got some presents. come on now.

    @isle dance - well said.

    @erin - agreed. simple is nice.

    @anonymous - agreed about the commercialization. at some point there is a limit.

  6. I don't know how this Valentine's day is understood in Sweden, but in Finland it's more like a friend's day. Not a girl friends's nor a boy friend's day. There's nothing sexual about our Valentine's day, so it seems like we have got it wrong. We don't send cards to our wifes either, they will get their presents some other day.

    Outside Finland it's hard to find Valentine cards that would not say I love you. We don't say I love you to our friends, we say I like you or Thank you for being a friend. I love you is reserved for those who we REALLY love.

    It would be a bigger market for commercialization in Finnish way. I never sent Valentine's day cards or SMS's to my friends. It's thought to be more like a girl-thing in Finland. Or a gay-thing, if you will.

    Confused? Me too :)

  7. I don't even know what just happened...