FACEOFF: Consumer holiday proves harmless in grand scheme of love, relationships
February 11, 2019
When it comes to Valentine’s Day, you either really love it, or you really hate it. If you stand in the murky, gray area of the debate, you’re probably eating heart shaped chocolate passive-aggressively, or singing along to love songs that you claim to detest. I for one adore the holiday, and for more reasons than roses, candy and gifts.
Maybe I’m a romantic, or maybe I simply love love, but it’s important to realize that Valentine’s Day is not only reserved for intimate relationships. Family, friends and peers deserve love, too, and while, yes, they deserve love every day of the year, Valentine’s Day is an excuse to do something extra special for those you care about. It is a day to look forward to, a tradition to spark excitement when stores suddenly begin to turn pink, flowery and heart shaped.
Every rose has its thorns, and Valentine’s Day’s thorn is capitalism. Many claim that the holiday lacks sincerity because it is over commercialized. But then again, what holiday isn’t? In essence, the commercialization of Valentine’s Day is no different than that of Christmas, Halloween, Easter— you name it. And yes, it has a meaningful back story as well. While its precise history is shrouded in mystery, there are many stories of its potential origin, which makes it all the more compelling.
The holiday has roots in the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, a mid-February celebration of fertility and the coming of spring. There is also the legend of St. Valentine, who performed illegal marriages between young lovers in secret when Claudius II outlawed it. Would you become a martyr for love? St. Valentine did.
No matter your relationship status, Valentine’s Day is about the celebration of affection. If you happen to be in a committed relationship, this holiday introduces a whole new element of excitement, as you and your partner can decide what celebrating it means to you. If red roses and sappy letters aren’t exactly your thing, you have the opportunity to be creative in your celebration together, and find out what draws you closer as a couple. After all, “there’s nothing wrong with being in love with someone,” as The Reverend himself, Al Green, sings.
There’s no denying that love songs sound a little sweeter around this time of year, and suddenly have more purpose. Love drives us. We treasure it, and in its absence, we crave it.
Let’s put commercialism and capitalism aside for a second to realize that, at its core, Valentine’s Day is about love, and despite the culturally reinforced views of the holiday, you and your loved ones have the power to infuse it with your own meaning and sentiment.
Celebrations like this are a part of the collective human tradition. And why not celebrate one of the most fundamental and desired human qualities? It’s love. And whether you like it or not, it will be in the air on Feb. 14, so you might as well embrace it.