Hannah Pederson , Reporter
Most modern holidays started out innocent enough. Halloween was originally a Pagan Celtic festival celebrating the end of the harvest season. Columbus Day celebrates the day Christopher Columbus began his systematic slaughter of native people and Easter has roots all over the place.
Valentine’s Day is a holiday that began as a time to remember the Christian Saint Valentinus, who performed marriages for Christian couples in Rome during a time of intense persecution of that faith in the Roman Empire.
Of course, no one knows if he actually did, or if he even existed at all, but everyone has romanticized it nonetheless.
The only correlation between what the holiday used to be and what it’s morphed into are the creepy cherubim. For the past century or so, Valentine’s Day has been the product of a heteronormative society fueled by corporate greed, warping the definition of love into something that can only exist between a man and a woman willing to spend exorbitant amounts of money on red and pink crap.
This cold dead heart has been keeping that one on the backburner for a while, but it was always just excused as the result of being bitter and alone for so long. If it were chocolate, it’d be 90 percent cocoa. But the more Valentine’s Day is analyzed, the clearer it gets.
Think back to elementary school. Valentine’s Day meant buying tiny cards with candy taped to them and all those notes with the classic “Do you like me? Check yes or no” scribbled on them.
Later on in high school, it meant listening to a friend complain that her boyfriend forgot to get her something and helping her write a break up text.
During a person’s twenties, it means scrambling for a date and taking them out to an uncomfortable and unaffordable dinner, giving them a cheap gift everyone knows will be in the trash three days later.
If a person is married, it’s either a chance to smooth over that one time they did that one insensitive thing or the new insensitive thing that they’ll be reminded about for the next 10 years.
Romantic relationships have become the be-all and end-all of human existence, bleeding into how love is viewed all throughout people’s lives. It’s hypersexualized love to the point where Buzzfeed can write tons of popular articles debating whether or not platonic love even exists.
Love manifests itself in many ways. It’s questionable as to why it has to be confined to what can be said with a manufactured card and overpriced chocolate.
Assorted candies, teddy bears, roses and sappy cards line the store aisles. TV commercials advertise chocolate-covered strawberries and elegant bouquets. Parents heckle their children to find significant others.
Yes, it’s nearly Valentine’s Day.
In a similar fashion to Christmas, many people believe the Hallmark holiday has succumbed to corporate greed and consumerism. They don’t see a point in celebrating Valentine’s Day when it’s all about expensive gifts and fancy dates.
But people should make the most out of Valentine’s Day because it’s a unique occasion to show someone (including oneself) that they’re cared for.
For those who are “taken,” Valentine’s Day is the perfect opportunity to spend a fun-filled day with that special someone. It’s important to feel connected in relationships, and Valentine’s Day can help couples maintain their bond or instill new adventure in their lives. Whether it’s bowling, baking or going to a restaurant, couples have the opportunity to enjoy each other’s company.
Plus, couples can have fun without spending money on gifts and supporting corporate greed. A nice dinner date at home or a homemade card go a long way. It’s really the thought that counts.
Valentine’s Day is a great time to tell someone that they’re loved too. Sending a crush a heartfelt card or a box of chocolates isn’t about the money; it’s simply an expression of interest. While the romantic holiday is commercialized, people buy gifts for others because it’s a nice gesture. This special day might even assist someone in finding the courage to ask someone out.
It’s also worth mentioning that celebrating Feb. 14 isn’t limited to couples. There are certainly friends and family members who observe Valentine’s Day because it’s all about love and appreciation in general. In elementary school, children make personalized cards for their peers because they value their friendship. Family members write heartfelt notes and buy gifts for each other. Coworkers might hold an office party, complete with balloons and cake. There’s no written rule stating Valentine’s Day has to be romantic, which means people are free to celebrate it with whoever they want.
Or maybe that special someone is oneself. Some of the busiest people are college students, who often lead incredibly stressful lives. It’s difficult balancing work, school, friends, family, relationships and personal time with ease. Valentine’s Day is a great excuse to relax and “Treat Yo Self.” Book a day at the spa, read a good book, make a nice meal, buy something expensive or just take the day off to nap.
Nevertheless, it’s understandable that some people don’t like Valentine’s Day. It’s a little cheesy even for the hopeless romantics; but there’s no denying the fact that this holiday benefits the economy.
According to statisticbrain.com, the average consumer spends about $116 on this love-filled day. This includes cards, flowers, chocolates and candies, dining, clothing, gift cards and jewelry.
In 2009, 27,362 students were enrolled at Pierce College. If each student spends $116 on Valentine’s Day, the college alone would produce $3.2 million. While it’s not necessarily ideal to give into the materialism, spending money on Valentine’s Day can be rewarding.
So while Valentine’s Day might not sound that appealing, it’s worth celebrating simply for the sake of having something fun to do with friends, family or a romantic interest. There’s no need for negativity when it’s all about sharing the love.
The Puyallup Post is the award-winning student news of Pierce College Puyallup in Puyallup, Washington. Copyright The Puyallup Post 2017. Twitter/Instagram @puyalluppost
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