“Will you be my Valentine?” These words have been uttered over and over through the centuries to commemorate St. Valentine, the mysterious saint of love. With couples proclaiming their everlasting affection for each other and singles bonding over their lack of a love life, Valentine’s Day seems to the perfect holiday. Or is it?
Throughout the years, Valentine’s Day has turned into a marketing ploy rather than a day for declarations of love. Red roses, assorted candies in heart-shaped cardboard boxes and cheesy Hallmark cards started appearing in stores just a week after Christmas. Their numbers have been abounding as we get closer and closer to the doomsday.
Additionally, Valentine’s Day is an extremely selective holiday. It targets people in relationships while singles are left in self-doubt and defeat after being confronted with the 100th advertisement about red roses. Why devote a day for love when a large portion of the population is not able to take part in it?
Couples also face a unique challenge on Valentine’s Day. Pressure from advertisements popping from every website, constant relationship advice and the uncontrollable mass of candies stacked in stores make it impossible for couples to escape the gift-exchanging woes of Valentine’s Day. In order to prove their love, couples feel it’s a ritual they have to follow, whether they like it or not.
The history behind Valentine’s Day also doesn’t give much appeal to its existence. It originated as a Pagan festival of Lupercalia which was held around the middle of February. Priests ran around the streets of Rome, flinging goat hides dipped in blood to promote the fertility of women and crops. The festival was eventually outlawed and Feb. 14 was declared Valentine’s Day by Pope Gelasius in the 5th century.
A day marked by dark history and devoted to love fueled mainly by pressure from businesses is not ideal. Rather, every day should be devoted to love. A unique day for every unique relationship should be the norm – not one day for the millions of relationships around the world.
Unexpected moments for ribbon-bound candy boxes, teddy bears and corny love messages should be welcome. Rather than follow the clichéd path, take the road less traveled by. You may be surprised by the results.