By Devin Ferrell
I do not care for the Valentine’s Day. Call me a pessimist, call me jaded, or call me a cynic, but I don’t give any credence to a day that celebrates romance or affection between two people. What makes one particular day more significant for showing love for another person than any other day of the year? Of course people will say that is not the case and folks show their affection for someone every day of the year but it is unequivocal that Valentine’s Day, in the modern frame of its observance, is aimed at promoting hyper-affection.
A little history behind the holiday during this time is prudent in an analysis of its merits. The origins of Valentine’s Day are unclear, but speculations of its roots are commonly based in Roman (pagan) or Christian religious practices. According to history.com, the Roman version of the holiday is based around a man named Valentine and his efforts to marry young men against the orders of the Emperor or his infatuation with a woman while he was jailed to which he wrote letters signed “from your Valentine.” In Christianity it is believed that Valentine’s Day was created to counter the Roman observance of Lupercalia, a fertility festival that began in the middle of February. The Catholic Church may have created the holiday to negate the influence of the pagan holiday. Whatever the origin of Valentine’s Day, its role in contemporary society is cemented as a day declarations of love, friendship and affection.
So where do the chocolates and the Mylar balloons and the stuffed bears and the greeting cards and the Sweethearts come into play? Did Charles, Duke of Orleans, have an edible arrangement overnighted to his wife along with the first recorded Valentine’s poem he wrote while languishing in confinement in the Tower of London in 1415? Maybe he did and that’s where the practice comes from (a marketing revolution of the time no doubt). My flippancy aside, the day has grown more complex than its humble origins. I mean, does anyone remember a few years ago when Pizza Hut was offering a $10,000 engagement package replete with a ring, limo service, fireworks display and of course —a medium one-topping pizza—just what everyone wants on Valentine’s Day.
Why, why, WHY does there need to be a day devoted to the practice of symbolizing an emotion? For equality’s sake shouldn’t there be day for sadness and hope and anger? No, because those are emotions we feel every day. I can rant on about how it’s a corporate holiday and a Hallmark conspiracy, but more simply I think that it is way for people to feel validated. Getting a card, present or any kind of acknowledgement from someone else makes people feel good, both physiologically and psychologically. So do it everyday or once a week or once a month. Most of all, don’t buy into the hype of the day, or any day for that matter. Mothers don’t need a day—their day is everyday—and the same for fathers and patriots and workers and veterans.