What do we think of when we think of Valentine’s Day? That question has been running through my mind since forever. This year, however, it holds a special place in my heart since it will be my first time actually celebrating it.
When I ask about this holiday, especially here in the U.S., surprisingly the first thing that comes into peoples’ minds are these four things: flowers, chocolates, dinner and red hearts.
Samantha Aleman, junior in psychology, said she associates Valentine’s Day with couples going out to dinner and doing things couples do.
There is more to Valentine’s Day than Aleman’s impression indicates. The history behind the holiday holds more importance than we could ever imagine, from different religious names to the Roman Empire, according to a History Channel video titled “History of Valentine’s Day.” While all of the history is important, Valentine’s Day really became “a thing” when the tradition of sending cards came from Great Britain to the U.S. in 1840s.
Today, it has turned out to be more of a “get a gift” holiday than a real celebration of love. One billion cards, 35 million heart shaped chocolate boxes, 220 million roses, 6 million engagement rings and approximately $20 billion are spent in order to make someone “happy,” according to the video.
Tanner Jaeckel, senior in animal sciences and industry, said he associates Valentine’s Day with “the color red, hearts everywhere, flowers everywhere.”
Sixty-two percent of the American population celebrates Valentine’s Day by sending cards, flowers, chocolate, going out for dinner or all of those, according to the History Channel video.
So why love? Why would we spend a whole day celebrating the idea of love and the importance it holds in the world?
The answer to that question is because it is much easier and more convenient to market love. We enjoy chocolate and flowers. Not to mention receiving a card from your secret admirer makes you feel very good about yourself.
I think that Valentine’s Day, then, is not only the day in which we celebrate love, but rather an excuse to get out of our comfort zones and get a break in our routines to enjoy some time with those we love.
“In my lifestyle, I would definitely prefer just the time to be with the other person,” Jaeckel said. “I think giving the other that time is more meaningful than getting chocolates.”
Maybe, just maybe, this holiday is a little more commercialized than it should be and is therefore placing pressure on people’s shoulders, when maybe all they want to do is watch a movie. On the other hand, it can also be the perfect excuse for someone to demonstrate the feelings they have been hiding for a long time.
Whatever your feelings are on Valentine’s Day, I think we can agree that with today’s rhythm of life, where every minute counts, this is the perfect excuse to dedicate time, effort and a little more of the heart instead of the mind, not to make someone happy, but to be happy with that someone. After all, if there is something money cannot buy, it should be love.