Valentine’s Day: Love is in the air

Juliette Gaggini, Satire Co-Editor

About a month ago, I expressed to my friends how excited I was for Valentine’s Day. My friends met my enthusiasm with a mix of both confusion and concern,  frantically questioning my liking for the holiday. I know this is the satire section – so you may be expecting some ridiculously sarcastic article about how stupid Valentine’s Day is – but this is quite the opposite. This article, the one you’re reading, is very real: a true exposé on all the reasons I love and hate Valentine’s Day, and why you should have a more open mind about the holiday – even if you are left single this holiday season. 

Though my love for our current Valentine’s Day runs deep, unfortunately, I must address the fact that the holiday was not always celebrated with heart-shaped chocolates and oversized teddy bears. Valentine’s Day originated in the year 496 at a Roman festival called Lupercalia. Occurring every year in the middle of February, the original holiday is said to have celebrated fertility. 

In honor of this celebration of fertility, men would sacrifice a goat or dog and use the animal hide to whip young women. That’s the truth; I didn’t make it up. Google it, even. Luckily for everyone, the celebrations on Feb. 14 were later redirected in the spirit of a Saint Valentine. Unfortunately for the history of the holiday, there were an abundance of Saint Valentines and one cannot actually say which one started the festivities of Feb. 14. We, as twenty-first-century individuals, can only hope their expressions of love were better than the original celebration. 

As a self-described book-nerd, I can’t help but attribute some of the love surrounding Valentine’s Day to the 14th-century poet Geoffrey Chaucer. An idol of mine, Chaucer sets the picturesque scene of birds that meet each year on “seynt valentynes day” to choose their mates. I think it is fair to say that if Chaucer saw the holiday as it has evolved he would be discouraged to say the least, even if his spelling was my true source of inspiration therein.

Though one can only dream of a poet sending them love letters via dove, our current understanding of love is almost better and even more personal. Who wants a thoughtful handwritten song when you can have a metallic-sounding pop-out-card from CVS, a helium balloon that will contribute to the slow destruction of the environment and crumple in your house like your self-esteem, or a cheap necklace with your boyfriend’s initials that you will throw out in a month when you inevitably break up. 

Plus, our demonstrations of love today are way more public and therefore automatically more meaningful. I don’t know about you, but I would way prefer a song written just for me on SoundCloud than, say, a homemade dinner. Listening to it on repeat allows me to relive the momentary expressions of joy that I’ve felt in this joyless world, after all.

No matter your preferred celebration for the day, Valentine’s Day is a great reason to tell the people around you that you love them. Whether it’s a being with a significant other, having a Galentine’s night, or eating as much candy as possible while watching the movie “Valentine’s Day” with friends and appreciating it for having the greatest cast of any movie produced in Hollywood, I hope the spirit of the mysterious Saint Valentine carries you through the week.

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