Valentine’s Day is a bit like Marmite – you either love it or you hate it.
Some people see it as a highly commercialised event, particularly as the cost of certain gifts is much more expensive at this time of year. Others will go to great lengths to make the day memorable and enjoyable for that special someone in their life – flowers and chocolates will be ordered, cards will be written and dinner reservations will be booked.
Whether you are for or against it, February 14 has become known as a day when many people around the world give (and if you are lucky receive too!) gifts and messages to celebrate their love for one another. And I was interested in reading how Valentine’s Day is celebrated slightly differently around the world:
- USA -- Research released yesterday from the National Retail Federation suggests that Americans alone will spend more money on gifts for co-workers, children, family and friends than their significant others.*
- Japan -- In Japan, Valentine’s Day is celebrated on two different days. On February 14, females give gifts to their boyfriends or any man close to them and a month later, these men reciprocate.**
- Denmark -- In Denmark, many men write funny poems, known as ‘gaekkebrev’ and it is custom for them not to sign the message. The lady who receives the card is supposed to guess the sender and if she is correct, she receives an Easter Egg.***
Although the premise of Valentine’s Day remains the same, many countries have slightly diverse ways of celebrating it. And as research from the NRF shows, Valentine’s Day has moved on from a ‘lovers’ day to a ‘peoples’ day. Perhaps one gift that you could give to your co-workers this Valentine’s Day is the gift of Inclusion and Diversity. Why not mark Monday with encouraging yourselves and your team(s) to demonstrate Inclusion and Diversity in five different ways? It could be as simple as turning on your camera when you are in a video-conferencing meeting, delivering diversity training, holding some team-building activities or taking some time out to learn about your co-workers’ cultures. And if like me, you think that Valentine’s Day should be celebrated but it should not become an excuse to demonstrate your love only once a year, perhaps we can use February 14 as a day to encourage us to become more aware about the importance of Inclusion and Diversity in the workplace and put measures in place to ensure it is executed on a regular basis.