This week began with a very polarizing “holiday:” Valentine’s Day! Every year February fourteenth comes around and people around the world celebrate love, companionship, or in some cases, their single status. While I don’t shun Valentine’s Day, I must say that I think it is a classic case of a holiday that commercialism took over.
The original celebration of Saint Valentine was started by the Roman Catholic Church in order to honor two martyrs; however, the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints was revised in 1969 and the day, February fourteenth, was removed as a saint’s day. In addition to this, there is no link between the celebration and traditional romantic love. With that in mind, how did things change from martyrdom to cheesy Hallmark cards and hearts? Well the first step getting us there happened thanks to some lines in a poem by Geoffrey Chaucer honoring the anniversary of the current English king and queen in 1382. Over the next centuries, the poetry and tradition of exchanging valentines became increasingly popular and by the 19th century mass-produced paper valentines became prevalent.
So there you have it. A few people die as martyrs, some guy writes a poem for royalty, and some other stuff happens between the middle ages and the renaissance and before you know it men and women are going out spending money on each other annually in February! Doesn’t sound quite so magical when it’s put like that but I didn’t make history that way.
In all seriousness though, I think that too many people put too much stress on good old Saint Valentine’s Day. I think the idea of writing heartfelt individualized letters and poetry for others really means something, but these days that has degraded to spending two to four dollars on a pre-written and decorated card. I think the last time I put any thought into making a valentine was in elementary school when it was a required arts and crafts project. Sure, some flowers or a box of chocolate never hurt anyone, but overall, an obligation has developed so that if someone in a relationship ignores Valentine’s Day, it can be a huge problem! I vote for a regression back to the old ways. Do something personalized and heartfelt for Valentine’s Day, something that really means something instead of something that means there was money in your wallet to spend.
For those of you who don’t have a significant other to spend Valentine’s Day with, feel free to celebrate your single life, but don’t be bitter and take it out on happy couples. While one can be understandably upset to be alone, try to think of it this way; you will have much better luck changing that status (if you want to, of course) if you stay happy and enthusiastic than if you sulk off into a corner and hang your head.
I hope everyone had a great Monday, February fourteenth whether single or happily paired off. Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be any different than any other day; it is all what you make of it, so make it something good!