(even though I also love it a little bit!)
I have a love hate relationship with Valentine’s Day.
According to various lore, there are at least three historical Valentines. One St Valentine performed weddings for people when he wasn’t supposed to and got put in jail, or even sentenced to death.
Ahhh…how romantic. He put his freedom – or his life- on the line for love.
Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons, where they were often beaten and tortured. I’m a fan of people helping people. I’m wondering why no one knows we have a Harriet Tubman Day (March 10, if you want to add that to your calendar.)
One legend claims a man named Valentine was in jail and fell in love with a young girl who visited him. Before he was KILLED, he supposedly sent her a letter signed “From your Valentine. That poor young girl! Can you imagine if your daughter was getting mail from someone on death row, and later, everyone said, “Oh how sweet! Let’s make that a national holiday!”
The Roman Catholic church in the middle ages declared Valentine’s Day a holiday because they wanted to Christianize the February celebration of Lupercalia, a fertility festival, which took place on February 15. Just as in the cases of the Christian celebrations of Christmas and Easter, early church leaders took dates on which the people were already celebrating and tried to change them to worship the one true God, instead of whatever celebration they were having.
Maybe Catholic priests didn’t think it was good idea for Luperci priests to run around town slapping women with bloody goat hides in a bid to make the women more fertile in the coming year. Don’t worry, the women liked it. (History claims.)
This doesn’t really have anything to do with my modern beliefs on Valentine’s Day, I just think history is interesting.
As a romantic holiday, I think it’s overrated and expensive. I think too much pressure is placed on guys to do the right thing. I also think giving stuffed animals and chocolates to women is stupid. I think it’s hard on people who are not in a romantic relationship.
I think waiting in lines to go out to eat on a certain day is ridiculous. Why spend an hour in line on the 14th, when you can be seated in five minutes the next week? It’s crazy to spend $50 dollars on roses (how unoriginal by the way) when you can get them for $1 each a week later.if you’re going to spend the money, I’d rather have a single rose every week of the year because it meant someone was thinking of me at that moment, than a huge bouquet on a single obligatory day because my partner felt like s/he HAD to buy a bouquet on the 14th.
I saw the pressure in high school, and in the high school where I taught. The student council sold Valentines to be delivered during class, and the popular kids got a bajillion and the other kids got to watch and be reminded that they didn’t. I witnessed the pressure in college and in my twenties. People felt like they had to do something super special because Hallmark (and the jewelry stores, and the department stores, and even the grocery stores!) told them they had to.
What if you weren’t in a special relationship? What if you just started dating? What if you really wanted to break up but didn’t want to be alone on Valentine’s Day? Or felt sorry for your boy/girlfriend, and didn’t want them to be alone on Valentine’s Day?
I’m a fan of jewelry, but not heart shaped jewelry. NO woman EVER buys herself heart shaped jewelry. Also, why would we want jewelry shaped like an organ? Nobody makes stomach or lung shaped jewelry and I’m as big of a fan of food and breathing as I am of love.
I’m too old for stuffed animals, and I was in my teens too (even though I still slept with my stuffed aardvark-that was different). I love chocolate but I buy it for my self when I want to. I don’t need someone feeling like they need to give me a pound of chocolate to tell me they love me. Since when is it healthy to eat that much chocolate anyway!? Also, none of these gifts show any originality, or that the giver really KNOWS me. I want someone who sees me and knows that I want a tiny bonsai for the mantel or that I would love a wireless mouse to replace my broken one. Mostly it’s just that I hate presents given because you’re “supposed to”.
I also hate the obligation of a romantic relationship. I appreciate the recent uptick in “Galentine’s Day”. I still feel so much compassion for those people who feel sad, or wistful, longing for something they don’t have, on the actual Valentine’s Day.
ON THE OTHER HAND
I love a reason to celebrate in the middle of February. I love parties and any reason to have friends over is a good one. I love pink and red. I really do love chocolate and the shape of the valentine heart. I love my friends and my kids and my friends’ kids and want to give them sweet cards. I also really enjoy a good pun, and Valentine’s Day seems to bring out the punniest cards (See what I did there?)
I wish there was someway for us to have less marketing and consumption around Valentine’s Day so people don’t feel “less than” if they’re not romantically involved or obligated. All love to you, dear ones!