When you think of Valentine's Day, you normally think of couples going out to a romantic dinner, a shy co-worker or classmate confessing his admiration for their crush, people giving each other flowers and chocolates. Everything on Valentine's Day becomes like a dream come true, where today is a promise for new love, or renewing love.
But is that really what Valentine's Day is about?
Even though I'm not single, I don't admire this holiday particularly. I appreciate the idea behind the holiday: a day for showing how much you love and appreciate someone in your life, a special day for you to give them things or show your affection. Yet, most people associate this holiday with a particular kind of love (romantic) and not love in general.
For instance, when I was little, my family treated Valentine's Day as a day when you showed your love to anyone in your life — whether it was platonic or romantic or another type of appreciation of a person in your life (similar to how Christmas values togetherness). I didn't have any romantic relationships with anyone at the time (I mean, it's not surprising since I was only a pre-teenager), but as I got older, I saw that Valentine's Day wasn't what I thought it was. It wasn't about giving chocolates to your friends (girl or guy) or saying, "My brother is my Valentine," it was only meant for people who are with a partner or spouse.
The concept that there was a day just for couples seemed strange to me. Why should it just be one day that you show love for your S.O.? Why should it be that all couples are allowed to celebrate the status of their relationship on a day that's shared by all other couples? It makes it so inauthentic. So against what a relationship should be, which is something unique.
The only reason Valentine's Day exists is to sell things so that couples can pamper themselves for one day out of the year with other couples.
Chocolates, flowers, cards, bears with hearts, bears in general, cheap heart necklaces made of plastic, discounted jewelry, etc. This is what most holidays in general fall victim to since the meaning of the holiday is backed up by the belief that we must consume and give.
When I met my boyfriend two years ago, I remembered telling him I didn't want to celebrate Valentine's Day (we had started dating at the end of January and the beginning of February) and he asked me, "Why?" I had to explain to him how inauthentic the holiday felt to me — that you can only celebrate this holiday if you have a significant other and that all couples celebrate on that one day instead of every day or on anniversaries. I know that most people don't really care much about Valentine's Day or really hate it because its a day that's kind of more engrossed in sappy lines you would hear from a not well-made romance movie.
What I decided with my boyfriend is to celebrate after Valentine's Day since not only was no one really celebrating that day but also everything Valentine's Day related was discounted (no one wants the sappy heart-shaped cards or the huge boxes of chocolates on the shelves to remain there anymore).
What I want to say is not that people should shun Valentine's Day as something that's not worth celebrating (even though there are reasons people don't think it's worth celebrating), but to think that Valentine's Day, at least the idea that it is trying to convey, should be celebrated.
People should show how much they love someone who is important in their lives, whether it's platonic or romantic or other.
In elementary school through high school, I gave my friends chocolates because it was a special day for giving out chocolates (plus at that point, we were all single and wanted to make each other feel appreciated).
For the couples who like the idea that Valentine's Day is their day, I would reconsider if showing your love during Valentine's Day is really authentic or special. An anniversary is special since its a day that is specific towards one couple and doesn't belong to another (at least not in the same way).
Valentine's Day is just a day — it can be for new beginnings, for romantic nights out, but don't use it as the only day to show love because love is supposed to be something special and authentic.
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