February is considered to some as the month of romance, due to the fact that Valentine’s Day is a celebrated holiday across the globe. However, I believe that there are certain perspectives on the holiday, especially as one gets older. Now, the origins of the holiday are quite mysterious. There are several stories that attach the holiday to Catholicism and ancient Roman traditions. Specifically, the stories surround a specific saint; Saint Valentine. Now, the Catholic church has made it known that the church recognizes three saints that share the name Valentine. All three of the recognized saints were martyrs. However, confusion on the origin story comes from an old legend claiming that a man named Valentine was actually a priest in Rome around the third century. Valentine was performing marriage ceremonies during a time where the Emperor, Claudius II, had outlawed marriage. He continued to perform these ceremonies because he believed in the celebration of love and unity by bringing two people together forever. Valentine was sentenced to death for going against the order of the Emperor. While he was in prison, it’s rumored that Valentine had fallen in love, and went on to write the first-ever Valentine’s Day note, signing the note ‘From your Valentine.’ Shortly after, he was executed. Now, to some, Valentine’s Day is said to be a celebration of the death of St. Valentine. However, over time it has turned into a mainstream holiday, filled with flowers, chocolates, stuffed animals and “love.” Yet, Valentine’s Day still is known as one of the most controversial holidays, primarily due to one’s perspective of love at that moment in time. However, I think that there are stages that individuals experience on Valentine’s Day over the years.
Valentine’s Day for most children is a candy-filled day where classmates and friends spent time at home, specifically picking out individual Valentine’s day cards, which are basically small pieces of cardboard that have a popular cartoon character with a funny pun relating to love and friendships with candy attached to it, then they go to school and hand them out to a given classmate and friend. Now, middle-schoolers experience Valentine’s Day in a different way. Because middle school is full of hormonal, angsty pre-teens and teenagers, Valentine’s day is full of questions. Questions if so-and-so is going to send someone a valentine, or if celebrating Valentine’s Day is considered lame now or debating what chocolates to eat out of the variety boxes.
High school students and Valentine’s Day is a mix of emotions as well because it’s during a time where kids are starting to get more involved in relationships, they think they’re in love or are going through their first heartbreak. Then, there are the students that simply don’t care about the holiday at all. In my personal experience, Valentine’s Day in high school was very competitive. Girls became envious of others because their partners didn’t get them a giant stuffed animal and flowers, where some did. Then there were students crying over the fact that they didn’t get anything, they’re single or they were turned down. It was honestly a rollercoaster of emotions, yet in college, it hasn’t changed at all.
In fact, college students I think have the most diversity when it comes to an opinion on the holiday. Those in relationships look forward to the day: they get to spend time with their significant other, gifts may be exchanged or they celebrate it in some special ways. Now, I’ve noticed a trend where some couples don’t really celebrate the holiday, they just enjoy spending time with each other instead. Now, on the other side of the opinion poll is those who are single. Typically the thoughts that surround the holiday fall under certain categories: they dread the holiday, they are avidly looking for a date, they’re drinking their loneliness away or they couldn’t care less.
Now, whether you’re in a relationship or not. There are multiple ways to celebrate the holiday. Celebrate with your loved one, your friends, families, show yourself some love or have an anti-Valentine’s Day. Just because it’s not the traditional way of celebrating doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it a shot. Don’t let the season of love get you down, instead share some love.