Is Valentine’s Day still worth celebrating?
Valentine’s Day comes annually with signals of inflatable love heart balloons, saccharine cuddy toy displays, and chocolates that are overpriced and likely not very good for you.
The History of Valentine’s Day
St. Valentine of Terni was martyred in 269 C.E. and although the 69 seems oddly appropriate the real history of Valentine’s is anything but romantic.
This Roman priest was violently beaten, stoned and then had his head freed from his shoulders for daring to marry Christian couples.
The marital element of this tale of woe meant that in 496 a celebration with romantic connotations started to emerge from the memory of this Saint. We doubt St. Valentines found his death all that loving, but that’s besides the point.
These celebrations were initially more feast days with copulation and coupling involved. But the celebrations began to become more love-based over the years and were solidified as the Valentine’s Day we know and (perhaps) love by the 19th century.
The State of the Celebration
Since this time Valentine’s Day now has many traditions to it, most of them more about commercialisation than couples. Chocolate, roses, cuddly toys, and cards are all part of the season, as are expensive meals or trips away.
The US alone is expected to spend $20 billion on Valentine’s Day celebrations whereas in the UK retailers such as Poundland have been accused of unnecessary environmental damage by selling ‘nothing’ encased in plastic.
The actions of Poundland might get some people’s backs up but, really, what is the difference between a plastic case of nothing? And, for example, a polyester teddy bear holding a loveheart that tries to obscure its ultimate fate in a landfield?
Spending in Valentine’s may be up but participation is down, too, with only 50% saying they plan to celebrate in the US this year, as opposed to 60% or more in previous years.
Other celebrations such as Singles’ Day have also emerged as a counter to Valentine’s Day.
The standard format of heterosexual monogamous relationships is no longer an institutional standard.
And Yet Valentine’s Day still seems to prevalently appeal to such a standard. Making it redundant or seemingly outdated when compared to societal progressions.
Indeed, even so-called ‘traditional’ couples might find themselves groaning at the seemingly growing clichés that develop around the Valentine’s season.
Given all of this is there actually any point (or desire) to celebrating Valentine’s Day anymore? The answer is “That really depends on you”.
Valentine’s Day might has murderous origins and tacky modern associations, but it’s what Valentine’s represents to you that really matters.
For some people Valentine’s might mean nothing at all, in which case it’s probably best to give it a miss, at least in terms of making a big serenading affair of it.
In other cases one individual in a relationship might adore Valentine’s whereas another might greatly dislike it (and actively participate in a counter culture).
In such situations the most important thing is to have a strong conversation about why each person feels this way before looking to see if a resolution can be achieved.
The important thing in all situations is to actually consider your personal relationship with Valentine’s Day.
Consider what your history with the day has been, why it means what it does to you. And whether that attachment (or lack of) is justifiable and in alignment with the relationship you have or hope to create.
Yes, the fanfare around Valentine’s Day may be highly formalized and very alluring, but don’t let your own identity or beliefs be obscured by the cultural idea of what Valentine’s Day should mean to you.
It’s much better to stay true to you and then to think of what Valentine’s Day could mean instead.
This might mean that you’re rallying against the system this year it could mean that you’re buying expensive holidays, luxury nights out, and a horse and carriage for your lover/s.
Whatever the outcome make sure that you bring something to your Valentine’s Day that you will be able to remember and cherish in the long run.
After all, the most important thing about any occasion is the value and enrichment it can bring to your life and the lives of those that you care deeply about.
…Plus, y’know, sex toy discounts. Those are always good.
We hope that you enjoyed this article. If so then please feel free to share it with anyone who might also gain something from it. Oh, and please don’t buy a plastic container of ‘nothing.’
Yes, it sounds fun in the moment, but we can pretty much guarantee that’s one purchase you’ll end up regretting.
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