With February comes sweethearts and roses season but this time of the year can bring a lot of pre-Valentine’s Day stress. Whether it’s hearing Valentine’s Day offers on the radio or seeing the word ‘Love’ pop up in every corner shop every individual reserves the right to celebrate it as they wish or not to celebrate it at all! Whether you’re celebrating V-Day or avoiding it, it’s definitely time to say “season’s greetings” to your fave single-safe holiday: Galentine’s Day.
In Estonia and Finland, two tiny European countries Feb 14 is Friend’s Day, a celebration of platonic love. Known as Ystävänpäiïvä in Finnish and Sõbrapäev in Estonia, Friend’s Day is celebrated by single people and couple. Families, friends and couples gather for shared meals and sporting activities like skating or sledging.
The holiday began in Finland in the 1980s and travelled down to Estonia by the end of the decade. It started off as a holiday for school kids who were encouraged to make handmake gifts and cards for their loved ones and by the end of the 80s, the holiday had become popular among adults.
Even though the tradition of Friend’s Day was officially included in Finnish calendars in 1996, the custom had already made its dent and has become deeply ingrained in the Finnish culture. Friend’s day is widely celebrated throughout the country and is the second most popular card-giving holiday in Finland, with approximately 3 million cards sent in 2015.
It’s not all just chocolate and roses, Ystävänpäivä festivities have steadily increased in terms of commercialisation and groups of friends celebrate their day over brunches and dinners all over the country.
Meanwhile, in Estonia, February 14 is slowly becoming a very important day there. A scholar studying the evolution of Valentine’s day in Estonia, Liisa Vesik, argues that the holiday has become particularly popular in the post-socialist period, as the iron curtain lifted and Estonia became more exposed to International holidays. It was during this period when the Friend’s day became more accepted by companies and commercial.
So, grab your friend and do something nice for yourselves to celebrate this wonderful Friend’s Day on Feb 14.