Valentine’s Day is one of the most controversial holidays. It divides students into two distinct camps: those who love the day dedicated to love itself and those who have taken to calling it “Single Awareness Day” and resent its commercialized nature. While I have issues with the commercialized aspects of Valentine’s Day, I do support the love and warm, fuzzy feeling the holiday brings to those of all ages.
In one particular sense I can identify with the Valentine’s Day critics’ perspective. Valentine’s Day is a holiday signified by chocolate, gifts, flowers and other material items that “show” someone how much you care about him/her. But this knowledge makes us wonder, why do these gifts matter so much to us? Just because your significant other buys you the most expensive necklace or some really fancy chocolate, does that mean he or she loves you more than a poor guy who can barely afford to put food on the table for his significant other? In fact, sometimes boyfriends and girlfriends who buy each other the most lavish gifts may just as well be seeing someone on the side and trying to make up for the guilt by spending a ton of money on this day. Not that this is always the case, but nevertheless it highlights how trivial it is to equate material items with large monetary value to how much someone loves and cares about you.
The individuals who often criticize the “Hallmark” holiday often fail to see the potential joy the holiday has for those both in and not in committed relationships. Ever since I was little, my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles have always encouraged me to celebrate Valentine’s Day. I would look forward to writing out the personalized valentines and receiving chocolate and little gifts from my family because it was such a great feeling seeing all the different kinds of love around me. I was taught that Valentine’s Day is not just a day to remind people that they are single, but instead a day when love could be shared openly and freely without judgment. It is important to remember that love comes in all forms and amounts, and the love a parent has for his or her children should be celebrated just as much as the love a man has for a woman. If society can change the way it perceives love and the holiday itself, I am confident that Valentine’s Day will cease to remain as a reminder of someone’s “single” status on Facebook.
Yet, it is safe to say that this shift in perspective cannot happen overnight. There is far too much cynicism and contempt regarding the holiday to be completely done away with, but I can assure those who resent Valentine’s Day that changing their perspective will benefit them in the long run. Yes, in a perfect world people should be able to express their love any day of the year, but truthfully it is not always the easiest thing to express how you are feeling out of the blue. Even though Valentine’s Day is over for this year, it’s never too early to start getting excited about spreading the love next year!