By Samantha Schaefer–
Valentine’s Day. How much does society actually know about the origins of this holiday?
St. Valentine was a priest in Rome during the reign of Emperor Claudius II. Claudius was convinced that an unmarried army was a better army, because the soldiers would have no fear of leaving behind wives or children. Because of this theory, he prohibited all marriages and engagements in Rome.
Valentine rebelled against this unjust regulation and secretly performed marriages for couples. In the year 270, Valentine was caught and condemned to death. For his service, Valentine was named a saint after his death. Gradually, Valentine’s Day became what it is today – a day to exchange poems, love notes and small gifts. But have we forgotten what this holiday is truly about?
The suffering St. Valentine went through for love makes most present-day Valentine celebrators look pretty pathetic. This is not to say we should stop celebrating all together, but instead we should improve our traditions and gear less towards gifts and more toward compassion and care.
Valentine’s Day has become a multi-million dollar holiday, but that doesn’t take away from the reasons why many consider it such a special day.
The negative responses surrounding Valentine’s Day stem from those who have no one to spend it with. Some say it just aids capitalism, a lonely day if you’re single, women expect too much or that it’s just a pointless holiday and we should be able to show our love without having a holiday to manipulate us into doing so.
On the contrary, some would rather look at the holiday in a more optimistic manner. It’s not a question the creation of Valentine’s Day predates capitalism. People tend to get fussy whenever any kind of business benefits from a holiday, especially one involving our beloved valentines. We should be happy that these otherwise mediocre businesses have an opportunity once per year to flourish. Though this is not at all what the holiday is about, it doesn’t hurt that flower and chocolate companies are gaining positive financial feedback in the process.
For all you single ladies and gentlemen out there, Valentine’s Day is not a time to pity yourself or spend the day alone, ignoring the holiday completely. It’s actually an amazing opportunity to show that special someone that you’ve had your eye on them. Even if you’re not interested in pursuing someone, it would be a great time to spread love among friends, family and loved ones. You could even get your pet a nice treat to show you care.
No matter which way you choose to celebrate, make it positive. A negative outlook on Valentine’s Day could be a sign of a negative outlook on love or romance itself. Though we are not all expected to be Romeo or Juliet, there are several ways to show you care, without much money, or any at all. Not to say this should be the only day of the year that you do something special for your loved ones, but to reject or ignore this day will only affect you in a negative way.
Don’t allow St. Valentine’s death to be in vain! Celebrate! Love!