Valentine’s Day isn’t a big deal

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Valentine’s Day isn’t a big deal

Heather Gann, Staff Columnist

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It’s the first week of February, which means some people’s favorite or least favorite day of the year is quickly approaching: Valentine’s Day. Whether you are a candy heart connoisseur or you stay inside until Feb. 15, it seems like everyone has strong opinions about this holiday. Originally Valentine’s Day was quite a dark ordeal. It was a day on which Roman men would sacrifice animals and then whip women with their hides. Over time, though, it was romanticized by Shakespeare and Chaucer and in the early 20th century grew into the commercial success it is today. 

A large part of this boom in the holiday came with the beginning of the Hallmark Cards company. So while those who gripe that Valentine’s Day is nothing but a capitalist scam are correct, most major American holidays are plagued by some form of money-grabbing behavior. Even holidays with religious origin like Christmas and Easter have a gift-giving element that companies commercialize. 

I don’t think people should put as much meaning into Valentine’s Day as they do. This time of year, I always hear single people around me bemoaning the fact that they have to spend the holiday alone or that they hate the holiday because it reminds them of their loneliness. But why does it matter so much? It is because we as a society are fed the stereotype of the lonely girl on Valentine’s Day, and nobody wants to be that girl. Being alone is not the worst thing in the world – not even close. I know some reading this will say that I am a defensive, lonely girl trying to take down the holiday. The truth is, I do have a boyfriend, and we do celebrate Valentine’s Day, but it’s usually nothing more than dinner and a movie, which we could do on any day of the year. I could even do that with friends. 

Valentine’s Day is not something I wait for all year, and not something I want him to go all out for. Another damaging side effect of the Valentine’s Day buzz is the overwhelming pressure it can put on relationships, especially newer ones. I know girls who have broken up with people because they didn’t do enough for Valentine’s Day. To me, that’s materialistic and ridiculous. There should be a level of reciprocity, so discuss how you want to celebrate with your partner (if you want to celebrate at all). There’s no reason to break the bank. I was single for 15 years straight, and I did perfectly fine. 

If you are single on Valentine’s Day, get something for a friend or a family member. There’s more than one kind of love to celebrate. Practice a little self-love and have a spa day or read a book you’ve been meaning to. Do nothing at all and don’t feel bad about it. If you like Valentine’s Day and like celebrating it, then enjoy it. If you don’t like it, don’t make other people feel bad for celebrating. At the end of it all, it’s just another day out of the 365 in the year.