Valentines Day seems to be a weirdly sore subject. Among all major holidays in the year, it is by far the most scrutinised. But, why? Personally, I don’t mind it. I think it’s a cute idea and gives me an extra excuse to treat my boyfriend or go on a date of some kind. It’s simple, and it’s fun. Having said that, I wouldn’t miss it all that much if it suddenly didn’t exist. In a way, it’s just kind of… There.
I can certainly see from both sides of the argument. Generally, I think all the points raised about Valentines Day are incredibly valid. Despite having a laughably bland opinion on the holiday, my real interest lies in just how passionate people are about their stance on it. Like, the people who despise it despise it passionately, and they want you to know about it. However, with other holidays, people just celebrate it or don’t. There’s no discussion as to why they feel that way, or why you should feel the same way as them. The question remains: Why is Valentines Day different?
At surface level, Valentines Day is a celebration of romantic love. The traditional idea is that you will buy a card and present for your significant other, spend the day together, go on dates, etc. But over the years people have begun interpreting it in different ways; opting for a more inclusive platonic or familial approach. Think ‘Galentines Day’, or ‘Palentines Day’, or parents giving Valentines Day cards to their children, and vice versa.
It may be that Valentines Day struggles to fit in with the modern culture. People have started to move on from the traditional idea that life is about going to school, getting a job, buying a house, getting married, and having children, in that order. Instead, young people, in particular, want to focus on themselves. Either dedicating themselves to their careers or education, travelling, or finding themselves. Relationships and marriage are no longer sought after in the same way and are definitely not the end goal for most people.
Additionally, in previous years, Valentines Day only really catered to heterosexual couples, effectively excluding everyone that doesn’t fit this narrative. In recent years, this has become a lot more inclusive. It may not be farfetched to think that many of the people who dislike Valentines Day are the same people who have been historically excluded, and therefore have no time for the holiday. Perhaps those who enjoy it are the ones who the holiday has been specifically geared towards for centuries.
A really intriguing point about Valentines Day is that nobody seems to know why we celebrate it. Apparently, historians can’t agree on the holiday’s origins and no one who’s who Saint Valentine actually is. Compare this to other major holidays on our calendars; we all know why we celebrate Christmas, for example. Although not everybody is aware of it, Halloween has concrete origins in pagan traditions. So, why is Saint Valentine so elusive?
One version of the story came about as a means of honouring a man named Saint Valentine. He married soldiers who otherwise wouldn’t be allowed to. Before he was executed, he wrote a letter to a girl he allegedly cured the blindness of, signed ‘From Your Valentine’. This is where the traditional card ending comes from. He was executed on the 14th February 296 and so this became his Saint’s Day.
Maybe it’s the problem of its shaky origins, but in recent years people have posed the argument that Valentines Day is just a corporate scam, designed to trick you into spending money. They say that if you really care and love your significant other, you shouldn’t need one special day to show your love with flowers or chocolates or cards; that you could just do so at any time in the year and it would mean more as it would be unexpected. This idea that you’re supposed to show your love for them on this specific day means companies can ramp up the prices on their products, and they know people will pay in order to keep up the tradition. It almost feels like they’re preying upon the consumers.
Despite the true statement that you shouldn’t need a holiday to remind you to spend time with the people you love, isn’t it just a nice prompt anyway? Nobody says ‘you shouldn’t need a holiday to buy presents and spend time with family’. Nor do you hear people saying ‘you don’t need a holiday to make pancakes’. In both instances, the holidays are a nice prompt. There’s a community feeling to it like everybody is doing the same things at the same time, and that creates an atmosphere. It’s just lighthearted fun.
Sometimes I can’t help but assume that the people who hate Valentines Day are just bitter about it? Or it’s like an aesthetic for their personality. Speaking from experience, when I was going through my goth phase in year 7, I thought it was cool to hate Valentines Day because it was preppy and ‘who cares about love anyway?’ (lol). In year 7 I was also very much single and not that interested in boys. Then, as soon as I had a boyfriend over Valentines Day, I thought it was fantastic. I think people have the same kind of complex, though not willing to admit it to themselves. I’ve known a lot of people who went through this same transition, especially in high school.
It’s certainly not a cool or edgy opinion to dislike Valentines Day. If you don’t like it, then don’t like it in silence. I’ve never understood why people feel the need to be so vocal about their feelings toward this one holiday in particular. I think a lot of the time it’s just to undermine people who are in love; projecting their own bitter feelings onto someone whose opinion they don’t agree with. Isn’t it about time we just let people enjoy things?
So, that’s pretty much all of my thoughts on Valentines Day! I’m so intrigued to find out your opinions on the holiday and why you hold those opinions. As normal, feel free to leave comments below, or message me directly on any of my social channels linked at the top of the page!
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Love, Flossie ♡