- Category: Volume 87 (Fall 2015 - Spring 2016)
- Published: 03 February 2016
- Written by LAUREN NIESZ | HEAD COPY EDITOR
Keep an eye out for Cupid’s arrow because Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! Love it or hate it, the Valentine’s Day season has begun. The debate continues every year that questions that validity of the holiday. Is it purely a “Hallmark holiday” or is it a legitimate holiday?
My personal take on this question is that Valentine’s Day technically is the feast day of St. Valentine, that doesn’t make it a legitimate “holiday.” Christian churches celebrate many saints’ feast days, but we do not consider any of them legitimate holidays. For example, even one of Catholicism’s most beloved saints, St. Francis of Assisi, doesn’t have his own widely celebrated holiday. The average person doesn’t even know who St. Valentine was and why he is affiliated with Valentine’s Day (including myself!), besides the obvious affiliation of his name.
So, a brief history: St. Valentine was a priest when the emperor, Claudius, was persecuting the church and preventing marriages. St. Valentine married couples in secret because of his strong belief in love and marriage. Valentine’s last written note before his execution was supposedly signed “from Your Valentine.” This is where we get the tradition of love and notes/valentines associated with the holiday.
Most every saint has an equally beautiful and heartwarming story, but it seems that the consumer industry has taken St. Valentine’s story/feast day and turned it into a huge “holiday.” Before Valentine’s Day was the holiday it is now, there weren’t any holidays devoted to love. The only way couples celebrated their love was through personal anniversaries, so, the consumer industry decided to profit off of everyone who was in love at the same time. So, Valentine’s Day was born.
And, as with any holiday, comes the decoration and gift overload. I think it was the week before the spring semester began that I started seeing the Valentine’s Day decorations and candy out in Walgreens. Then the commercials and ads start pestering you to buy your Valentine’s Day gifts. And, of course, nothing is cheap! I think that the price tag consumerism puts on holidays is a bit disheartening and makes holidays feel less genuine.
While it really does seem like more of a “Hallmark holiday,” Valentine’s Day is here to stay (whether we like it or not!). I’m not sure if the fact that Valentine’s Day is a “Hallmark holiday” turns people off to the idea of the holiday itself or the fact that it celebrates love when a lot of us are single, but I do think that this year we should try to love Valentine’s Day more.
No, I’ve never had a “valentine,” but I absolutely love Valentine’s Day and I always have. I think to have a day devoted to love and celebration is wonderful. Regardless, if it is a “Hallmark holiday,” I think love should have its own day. It’s a day that is sweet, cute, and full of hope. If that’s too mushy for you, just think of all of the discounted chocolate after the holiday ends- thanks consumerism!
Beloved comic writer, Charles M. Schulz, said, “All you need is love…but a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.” So, if the holiday’s “Hallmark” quality leaves a sour taste in your mouth, cover it up with the taste of all of the half priced chocolate you can buy after the holiday is over!