Valentine’s Day: Is it really what you think it is?

By Lily Horn, Freshman Exercise Science major

Valentine’s Day is a highly anticipated holiday for many, while on the other hand, others are not so thrilled about celebrating it. Some get excited about the idea of showering their significant others and loved ones with cheesy, cliché gifts such as jewelry and chocolates. Infatuated couples view Valentine’s Day as a day for lovey-dovey outings and romantic, candle-lit dinners together.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are many people who are not so in love with Feb. 14. Those who are single, specifically, tend to be opposed to the holiday for a number of reasons.

They may have a distaste for it because it reminds them of their lack of an intimate relationship. They may also view it as nothing more than a ‘commercial’ holiday, which companies use to make money through the selling of overpriced flowers and teddy bears. Their taken peers may even cause them to feel inadequate for being single.

There is a definite stigma against single individuals. For instance, people may assume that you are too prude or playing hard to get for not being in a relationship. Some may even go so far as to say that you are cold-hearted or the Scrooge of Valentine’s Day.

Despite these stigmas, though, single people are trying their best not to let the holiday get them down. They are doing this by renaming Feb. 14 as “Single Awareness Day” to poke fun at themselves or by viewing it as a date to celebrate other things they love, such as their families, dogs or other passions they may have.

Additionally, Valentine’s Day may very well be one of the biggest scams of commercial America. Companies and distributors all over the country use the holiday to get people to spend their money on gifts for their lovers, manipulating people to think that if they don’t spend that money, they don’t love that person. Prices of candy, teddy bears and even simple Valentine’s Day cards have been seemingly raised way higher than they need to be. Commercial America uses a holiday that should be dedicated to how much you love and appreciate the person you are in a relationship with just to make more money.

As for the history of the holiday, nobody exactly knows the true origins of Valentine’s Day, but there are a lot of legends and stories that go around, all of which are morbid and grotesque. According to History.com, a martyred saint named Valentine served in Rome during the third century. When Emperor Claudius II, who reigned over Rome at the time, realized that young men fought better as soldiers when they were single, unmarried, and didn’t have a family to love, he outlawed marriage for young men. Saint Valentine, disgusted with the unfairness of the decree, defied Claudius and married young lovers. Needless to say, when his actions were discovered he was put to death, his execution date being Feb. 14.

Other legends suggest that Valentine’s Day was a Christian cover-up of the pagan Roman celebration Lupercalia. Lupercalia originated as a masculine cult in which half-naked men ran through the streets with thongs made of animal skins.

While the true origins of Valentine’s Day remain unclear, the theories that are out there and going around still display a dark and distorted past.

Regardless of the history, chocolate-covered strawberries and cartoon Cupids have become the norm. Valentine’s Day, although fun and heart-warming for some, can be sad and lonely for others. Not everyone should have to believe in Valentine’s Day, it is one’s choice of how they want to celebrate it, if they should at all.

 

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