Valentine’s Day: Love it or leave it

"Hearts vs. Heartbreak" graphic

Many ask or make statements like “Why celebrate Valentine’s Day, or what’s the point?” Well my answer to that is yes we should celebrate. 

The modern celebration of Valentine’s Day as a holiday dedicated to expressing love and affection dates back to the 14th and 15th centuries. It is a popular holiday in many countries, especially here in the West, where it is customary to exchange gifts, cards and messages of love with significant others, friends and family members. The holiday is also celebrated in various other forms, such as romantic dinners, flowers and chocolates. 

Valentine’s Day provides an opportunity to celebrate the people who bring joy and happiness into our lives and to show them appreciation and gratitude. Additionally, it promotes the values of love, kindness and generosity, which are important qualities for building and maintaining healthy relationships.

Whether or not to celebrate Valentine’s Day is a personal choice, and it may depend on your beliefs and cultural traditions. Some people view Valentine’s Day as a significant occasion for expressing love and affection and believe that it is important to continue celebrating it as I do. 

Now some may say that Valentine’s Day has become an occasion for businesses and corporations, mainly in the retail and hospitality sectors. Companies often create special promotions to encourage people to buy gifts, cards, flowers, chocolates and other products for their loved ones. 

The holiday can be seen as a mix of both commercial and sentimental aspects. Whether it is primarily driven by corporate interests or by the desire to express love and affection is a matter of perspective, and mine is the latter. 

Whether or not someone chooses to buy gifts or participate in other Valentine’s Day activities is a personal decision and it is important to do what feels right and meaningful to each individual. 

So, let’s remember that the true meaning of Valentine’s Day is to express love and affection, and this can be done in many ways that don’t involve spending money or buying gifts. 

In close, this writer says yes, continue to celebrate Valentine’s Day  in whatever way you choose.

Feb. 14 is Valentine’s Day, and it’s right around the corner. After reading that first sentence, most will have one of two reactions. One of them being, “I can’t wait to share the day with the ones I love!” the other being a dreadful response, one that may sound like, “I don’t even care about Valentine’s Day. What’s the point?”

Everyone is entitled to their own opinion of the holiday and how they intend to celebrate it, if at all. To the few who ask “What’s the point?” I am here to answer that there is not a point. 

Do not get me wrong, the idea of the so-called holiday is a nice one. Although, the origin of the holiday is not such a pretty picture. 

According to Arnie Seipel in “The Dark Origins of Valentine’s Day” at NPR, there is more to Valentine’s Day than meets the eye. “The Romans celebrated a holiday called Lupercalia” to indicate the beginning of spring. But Lupercalia had its downfalls, particularly violent ones. According to “Ancient Roman Festival” by the editors of Britanicas Encyclopedia, “Luperci cut thongs from the skins of the sacrificial animals and ran in two bands around the Palatine hill, striking with the thongs at any woman who came near them. A blow from the thong was supposed to render a woman fertile.” 

Over time the customs developed a more heartfelt meaning but the origins perpetuate traditional gender roles. I know, hard to believe.  A single day out of the year that is meant to celebrate the ones you love is not enough. Life is too short not to say “I love you” everyday. It is as easy as setting a reminder on your phone, we look at them too much anyway.

The entire weight society put behind the 14th makes it completely meaningless. There should not have to be a designated date entirely based on living up to everyone else’s standards. 

Younger adults do not seem to care as much for the over-commercialized holiday, although earlier generations are still hanging on. Maybe we have social media to blame for the lack of true love in the air. 

So, refrain from falling for the trap that is performative action, all for a money grab, and do something meaningful with the ones you love every other day of the year. Just not Feb. 14.

Image courtesy of Zebi Kimani