February 14 is best known for giving flowers and chocolate, sending sweet notes, and dining with those we love. Most of us participate willingly, but have questioned if Valentine’s Day is more about lining the pockets of the chocolate and flower industries rather than expressing love from our hearts. The past few years, it seems as though cupid’s arrow is aimed at a new target as Valentine’s Day slips into the shadows and Generosity Day steps onto the stage.
In 2011, Sasha Dichter of the Acumen Fund, brushed off a man asking for money on the subway. The next day, Dichter, convinced he made a mistake by denying the man, decided to embark on a personal 30-day Generosity Experiment and record his experiences on his highly read blog.
His experiment caught the interest of his readers so much so that three days before Valentine’s Day, Dichter declared February 14 as Generosity Day; a day to cultivate the practice of generosity, share love with everyone, and reclaim the over-commercialized Valentine’s Day holiday. With that, a new movement began with the simple goal of saying “yes” to helping others and truly practicing love from the heart, not out of obligation.
Why pick on Valentine’s Day? Dichter clearly explained he holds nothing against it, but it seems to him to have evolved into a formulaic holiday that had lost its meaning; it had become a holiday that most people admittedly seem to dread. Generosity Day makes it about love again – a “love in its purist form: giving without expecting anything in return.”