Feb. 14 is a day we all love, or it can be a day we love to hate. I personally despise Valentine’s Day to the fullest. As a teen, I used to hand out candy and cards to girls in my classes or in hallways, but right now, I just hate it because I have never dated and am still single. This day is a smack in the face for singles.
Origins of the holiday have been mixed. Scholars believe the modern version of Valentine’s Day came from ancient Christian and Roman tradition. One legend says that the day originated from the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalis/Lupercalia, an annual fertility celebration that was observed on Feb.15. In 496 A.D., Pope Gelasius turned the festival into a Christian one, honoring St. Valentine, a martyr of the Christian faith. He lived in the third century. The day was set to the current date of our now commercialized Valentine’s Day.
But, most people forget about the historical origins and focus on only the commercialized aspects. To celebrate this “holiday,” couples tend to do the cliché things. Everyone knows what I am talking about: men wasting $75 or more on flowers that will die in a week, buying a woman’s guilty treat in a box and others. This accelerated commercialism leaves an unpleasant taste in my mouth.
Emerging trends in this commercialism involve phones. When I watch a program on TV, a wireless commercial for the Samsung Galaxy III plays. It will say something like: “surprise your significant other with the new Galaxy III, for only $99.99” (with a two year contract, of course). The truth is love cannot be bought with a phone, teddy bear, balloon, Hallmark card or box of chocolates. When did love have a price tag?
The National Retail Federation reported that Valentine’s Day spending will reach $18.6 billion dollars this year. Average spending per person will rise to $130.97, up from last year’s $126.03. These figures prove that retailers and restaurants use all means to give couples a sweet deal. In the end, corporations bankroll off the backs of couples and souring singles.
This day of “love” not only isolates singles, it can also put more pressure on couples. For men, it is a sour reminder of making a trip to the florist shop or Hallmark. Shopping for your woman takes a hit on your wallet. Does it do any good? After all, it’s your love life, not mine. Personally, I could care less about Valentine’s Day shopping.
On the other hand, women look forward to the gifts. Anything from a diamond, watch, and, of course, the typical pseudo-love gifts. A red flag for both genders is the expectation of things to define love.
A common quote from some women who only love men for material items is, “if you love me, then you will buy me this ring [or whatever else I want]!” My plea to men is to never let a women take advantage of you like that. Likewise, women who have this mindset should never force men to buy them things to define happiness.
How does commercialization of Valentine’s Day stack up to Christmas? USA Today reported that Valentine’s Day spending is second to Christmas. Will the two ever be even? Well, only time will tell. I just know that I do not believe in the commercialization of holidays because it only covers up the true meaning of them.
What is the point of dedicating one day to go above and beyond for your boyfriend or girlfriend? This should be an act that occurs every single day. One day out of the other 364 (365 in leap years) is not enough. Take love for what it is, not as a product.
By: Eric Smith