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Loves Me, Loves Me Not?

On this Valentine's Day, we distributed more than 300 origami paper flowers in the center of Aveiro. Under the motto “spreading love”, these oxeye daisies are made of different petals with affectionate phrases to be offered to those who make our lives happier.

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes and 18 seconds

© Helder Berenguer

Offering flowers on Valentines Day may seem unoriginal, but this classic symbol of love celebration can be a way to reflect on concepts such as romance, friendship or empathy, which are sometimes haunted by a fragmented society and where the relationship with the community seems to be increasingly distant and amorphous. In this sense, the challenge for the 2023 edition of “Valentino”, Agora Aveiro's project that marks Valentine’s Day, was to create a chain reaction capable of encompassing all the different types of manifestation of love. Thus, “Bem me Quer” was born, materialized in the form of a modular origami inspired by the “Plumeria Floral Ball” design by Meenakshi Mukerji. This origami, made of different detachable petals on which phrases that appeal to our relationship with others are displayed, aims to invite those who receive them to take part in a chain and “spread the love” among those who, throughout the year, make our lives happier.

“Valentino” went out to the streets on the afternoon of the 14th of February at Praça do Doutor Joaquim de Melo Freitas, Praça da República and next to the Ponte dos Laços de Amizade, where more than 300 origami paper flowers were distributed! These flowers were received with some surprise and with a lot of affection on the part of those who had the happy coincidence of encountering us on the street. In general, people’s reception was quite positive, provoking some more spontaneous reactions and helping to brighten the day of those who received our flowers. But also our volunteers, who have finally seen the fruits of their tireless work over the last few weeks become reality.

In the words of our volunteer, Maria João Pereira:

This project transcended celebrating Valentine’s Day. More than marking a date, it was a genuine exchange of love. Many of the people we approached could not believe that a group of young people was voluntarily giving flowers without any compensation. But when they realized it, there was a mixture of happiness and disbelief. I think that hope has been restored, if only for a moment, that love can be distributed without a price, although, in the end, we all came out richer.

Like in a garden, love shouldn't be cultivated just once a year and, therefore, actions of this kind are a good reason to remember how important it is to be connected with those around us.

“Valentino” is an action included in Agora Aveiro’s “Random Acts of Kindness” project, which has the support of Município de Aveiro and IPDJ - Instituto Português do Desporto e Juventude, I.P..

Carlos Correia