In Finland it’s called Ystävänpäivä

Valentine’s day, a day in which we celebrate love through the exchanging of cards and gifts, is coming soon. This holiday can in many ways remind us of who we love the most in this world but I believe that it unfortunately doesn’t give enough credit to another highly important kind of person in our lives, our friends. Why then, you may be wondering have I mentioned Finland in the title of this article. To put it briefly, Valentine’s Day in Finland is called Ystävänpäivä or ‘Friends Day’, while it has a name many of us could not hope to pronounce, it also has more of a focus on celebrating our friends and family.

Valentine’s day in Finland has only been celebrated since the 1980s, it was decided officially in 1996 that everyone should be included in the celebrations on the 14th February. Despite this difference in style, the 14th of February is still the second most popular date, coming second only to Christmas, for buying cards and gifts, much like the rest of the world. Maybe we could all learn a thing or two from the Finns in appreciating those who will always love us and, most importantly, love us for who we are. We don’t have to get rid of Valentine’s day by any means, but maybe we could make it a broader celebration.

To summarise, I believe that Ystävänpäivä or ‘Friends Day’ in English could not only teach us about Valentine’s Day but also about everyday life. Some of us probably do tell our friends and family of our appreciation for them enough, but for those who don’t, myself included, perhaps the odd gesture of appreciation every now and then couldn’t possibly do any harm. So to those of you reading, spread the love this Valentine’s day, but if you can, spread it wider than before.