Middle Eastern Anti-Valentine's Day Sentiments Hit the Internet
While the cash registers ring on Valentine's Day as people rush to buy flowers, diamonds, chocolates and other objects to express their love, some residents have expressed how they reject the concept of the day.
On Twitter, disparaging views were part of the Valentine's Day trending topic. "Dollar signs instead of hearts," posted Mo Aldalou (@MoHeathcote), a Dubai-based musician.
The founder of @voice4charity in Dubai, Dina Al Naib (@Dina_AlNaib), tweeted, "... it's nothing more than a Hallmark [reputed company of greeting cards] holiday!"
Gulf News checked for anti-Valentine's Day sentiment via Linkedin as well. Caroline Tapken, Managing Director at CTT Consulting FZ LLC, said, "We don't need an overpriced meal and expensive roses once a year to tell someone we love them! It is good for business though, as many disagree with me."
Why do people spite the day? One aspect could be the high expectation regarding the exchange of costly gifts. Gulf News approached Dr Gabrielle Adams, Assistant Professor of Organisational Behaviour, who is affiliated to the Dubai campus of London Business School. Dr Adams co-authored a study that analysed the correlation between the value of a gift and level of appreciation.
Ritual of giving gifts
When asked whether the ritual of exchanging gift takes the meaning out of the day, she said, "I think this could go either way: either the ritual is what gives the holiday meaning, or the ritual ‘cheapens' the holiday. Ultimately, whether the gifting ritual gives or detracts meaning from Valentine's Day will depend on how the couple views the holiday."
The study revealed that receivers don't appreciate expensive gifts that much more than inexpensive ones.
Gulf News also spoke to a few residents on why they think the day is overrated. "I'm planning to watch the European Champions League. I'm not against Valentine's Day but I feel it's overrated… It's simply one day of the year and if you care for someone you should care about them every day [and] not make a big deal out of it," Nadeem Mansour, a Palestinian technical sales engineer at Henkel, Abu Dhabi, said.
Sabrina Winter, an Austrian management trainee with Starwoods Hotel and Resorts in the capital, concurred.
She said: "While it's nice for couples or friends to celebrate their love or friendship, whether at home, in a hotel or in a pre-arranged programme, I feel that the holiday's become commercial. It should be more about celebrating bonds than spending a lot for everything — although exchanging gifts is alright."
By Carolina D'Souza