Do we celebrate love and respect for all of mankind on Valentine’s Day? That would truly be a day worth celebrating in a world where many people forget about treating their fellows with respect.
February 7, 2017
Filed under Opinion
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By Luke Adelhoch
Valentine’s Day is coming fast and plenty of romantics are looking forward to their day. But is Valentine’s Day actually worth anything? It has been a polarizing “issue” for years, although thankfully it usually never stirs much controversy. Despite this, it still makes for interesting discussion and is therefore worth a look at. So I ask the question: is Valentine’s Day really that important?
The holiday actually has a rather interesting history. It was founded around the tale of Saint Valentine of Rome. Valentine, according to the story, was persecuted for performing weddings for soldiers who were not allowed to marry and for ministering to Christians (Christianity was forbidden at the time). According to legend, he healed the daughter of the man who jailed him despite the fact that he was sentenced to execution. In his final letter to her, he signed “Your Valentine” as his last farewell. Is this story true? It is difficult to tell considering that it was a story from the Roman Empire when the dominant religion revolved around gods like Jupiter and Neptune. But if it is true, then it is truly a heartwarming story of love for your fellow man and woman- not necessarily in a romantic way. Valentine did not let hatred cloud his judgement of an innocent sick woman and treated her with just as much kindness as he would anyone else- truly actions that befit a Saint.
But do we celebrate love and respect for all of mankind on Valentine’s Day? That would truly be a day worth celebrating in a world where many people forget about treating their fellows with respect. Unfortunately, most people seem to have forgotten the values that Saint Valentine is celebrated for and for which he gave his life. Ever since the 14th century, the holiday has shifted towards purely romantic love. The famed medieval English poet Geoffrey Chaucer started it as a small tradition to celebrate courtly love and chivalry on a day to honor Saint Valentine. However, the holiday evolved over the centuries to come until the message was entirely lost as it transformed into a holiday made exclusive for lovers and romantics. What was once meant to celebrate respect and love for everyone has turned into an event for only those who have been fortunate enough to find romantic love. And even then, it’s less about celebrating that love and more about spending money in the name of it.
Valentine’s Day is not much of a celebration anymore. It’s a commercial event to sell chocolates and flowers. A Valentine’s gift is no longer a genuine gesture to one’s loved ones. It has become an obligation, something that must be done simply because society says it has to. Do flower shops and chocolate shops deserve business? Certainly. But should a holiday about love and compassion just be about spending money? Certainly not. People should show their love to each other every day and buy each other gifts because they want to, not because they have to. Commercialism has taken over pretty much every holiday, but it is rare that one ends up entirely consumed by it. Valentine’s Day has become one of those days. Do you love your fellow humans? Then don’t just show it by spending all your money on short lived gifts. That isn’t what Saint Valentine wanted to teach us.