February is here and one holiday is on everyone’s minds… National Tortellini Day, everyone’s favorite pasta-themed extravaganza on the 13th! Oh, and I suppose Valentine’s Day is coming up soon as well. Speaking of which, what’s happened to Valentine’s Day? Where has the spirit of the holiday gone? It’s a question many have wrestled with, and by many I mean myself (though using many makes the statement seem more credible).
The easy answer would be to say that Valentine’s Day has become too commercialized, and the true heart (get it?) of the holiday has been lost, though that’s a pretty vapid statement that, when one gets down to it, can be applied to almost every holiday. It would be easy to say that Valentine’s Day has simply lost its luster. After all, no one can compete with the monopolistic empires that Christmas and Halloween hold over celebratory seasons. I suppose St. Patrick’s Day could hold a candle to those two, but people only tend to think that as they get older.
It isn’t just that Valentine’s Day has become less popular – there seems to be an aura of hatred surrounding the occasion. When the 14th of February rolls around, you’re far more likely to encounter people bemoaning the holiday’s existence, rather than people lovingly celebrating it. There must be a reason for this. Folks wouldn’t just decide to hate a holiday for no reason. After all, Columbus Day has rightfully earned its infamous reputation. I can tell you’re burning with excited anticipation for a low grade holiday in a school newspaper, so without further ado, let’s dissect the devious detestation of Valentine’s Day.
Right off the bat, one of the major reasons that Valentine’s Day has become a bit of a punching bag is due to the fact that, over time, American society has trended away from relationships. Lasting marriages within the U.S. have been on the decline ever since the mid 1940’s. There are a multitude of factors that experts suggest as to why this could be. Some blame widening U.S. income and wealth inequality. Others argue it’s due to the fall in religious adherence. Quite a few even cite rising student debt and housing costs as viable factors. Together, all these components play a key role in stifling citizens from properly building long lasting relationships, and no other time than the 14th of February does this become more apparent.
All right, so the real hatred of Valentine’s day is due to loneliness. Well, there’s more to unpack here. What if you’re already in a relationship and hate Valentine’s Day? What then? Well, it’s not uncommon to feel excessive stress or anxiety to provide your loved one with an abundance of gifts in accordance with holiday tradition. Valentine’s Day is a symbol of love, after all. Don’t you want to show how much you love your significant other by purchasing as many kitschy, Valentine’s Day-related products for your loved one as you can? If you don’t do so, what does that say about your character? If you don’t love Valentine’s Day, then do you not love your partner? It’s a mindset perpetuated by tradition surrounding the holiday.
Regardless of whether you are or aren’t in a relationship, there’s no easy way out during the 14th of February. Taking everything discussed into consideration, ask yourself this: Are you truly genuine with your sentiments during Valentine’s Day? Or do you feel as if the holiday is an emotional pile-up of hidden feelings that you try to bury due to societal pressure? Perhaps you’re like me, just cruising along and only here for the candy. Whatever the case, remember that Valentine’s is just another day of the month, and it shouldn’t make you feel any worse about yourself simply due to its mere existence. If Valentine’s Day expects so much from you and offers so little in return, why pay it any mind at all? At least Christmas is the season of hope, peace on earth, and good will to all. What does Valentine’s Day have going for it, again? Empty wallets and broken hearts. No thank you. Kick back, relax, and enjoy a couple of sweet hearts.