“Valentine’s Day”.. Many are dreading it, some are preparing surprises of a lifetime for their loved ones, others are ignoring it: “it is not our national celebration”, “it is so fake”, “it is so commercialized”. And all of those are valid points, of course, but one cannot argue that it is up to us how we decide to celebrate, be it Valentine’s day or another holiday.
In Japan, women give chocolate as a gift to men. Brazilians celebrate love in June (in February, the Brazilian Carnival is hitting off), but Filipinos take Valentine’s day seriously and arrange group weddings where hundreds of couples say “I do” in a joint event. Meanwhile, Valentine’s Day is .. 20 billion dollars worth of business in the USA. But, as said, we make it to be what we want it to be.
But did you know that the 14th of February is a Friend’s day in Estonia and Finland? Known as Ystävänpäivä in Finnish and Sõbrapäev in Estonian, it is celebrated by families, friends, couples and even colleagues to recognize the friendships they share. Even though Friend’s Day has been in Finnish calendars only since 1996, today it is celebrated throughout the country, and people gather for shared meals or winter sporting activities. Furthermore, The National Postal Service reports that Friend’s Day is the second-biggest season for cards in Finland. Posti usually employs about extra 150 people for the Valentine’s Day season.
Of course, the integration of new calendar holidays is a lengthy process that is likely to fail unless it receives support from institutional establishments as well as the media. But in our local organizational environment, we have a chance to make a transition from the celebration of love to the more inclusive celebration of friendship and make it a day when colleagues say additional thanks to each other for their support, inspiration and friendship. Work, without a doubt, is a big part of our lives and our co-workers are a big part of our social interactions. So it only makes sense to spend one day a year cherishing each other also at work.
We are humble, and we are not hoping that one small blog article will change the world, but we truly wish that you will spend a moment thinking about this. What if you started a new tradition between your colleagues and would let them know they are valued, noticed and appreciated? Especially if you are in a position to make it a company-wide tradition? Just one extra day to boost the recognition culture in your organization?
Sure, we can say that Valentine’s Day is too superficial, too commercialized and too whatnot, but also: life is better when it’s celebrated. And why not take a good example of our Nordic neighbours and make it a day for appreciation especially in the office?