“All you need is love.” ~ John Lennon
Valentine’s Day is a celebration of love dating back thousands of years and yet in recent years (or maybe it was always there and I just didn’t notice), there seem to be more and more people dissing Valentine’s Day as though it is in some bizarre way a personal affront to those who aren’t currently in a romantic relationship.
Honestly, I don’t understand these people. I mean really… no one ever said that Valentine’s Day is celebrated as a way to publicly insult single people all over the world or that someone is going to point fingers at single people on this day or that this holiday doesn’t represent something of value. Yes, I did just read this today on Facebook where someone posted as their status the following: “Happy UnValentine’s Day tomorrow, the day of nothing.” The reason given for such a strange post doesn’t make a lot of sense although it seems that this person is upset that this holiday celebrates a feeling and feels that we (as a society) shouldn’t because we don’t celebrate anger or sadness. Which in my opinion is a no-brainer since honestly who would really want a day set aside to celebrate or observe anger or sadness?
What is it exactly about this date that gets some people all bent out of shape over being single or needing reminders or whatever it is they feel they need to grip about? So what if many of our traditional western holidays have become commercialized? No one forces you to participate in any of them. No one expects you to go out and buy a bunch of stuff that shows you aren’t a Scrooge or are just unwilling to express yourself. There are no holiday police. No one is going to single you out or make you parade through the streets wearing a sign that says how much you suck for still being single or unwilling to participate in some holiday or other.
I saw another post on Facebook dissing the fact that there’s a date on the calendar dedicated to Love and griping about why we need a holiday to remind us to express our feelings to those we care deeply about. Um, what? Who says that is what February 14th is for? Who says we need reminding? Believing we need a holiday or a reminder speaks more about the person saying these things than it does about the rest of society. No one (at least none I’m aware of), has ever said that “we” as a society need to be told to express our love for others, no one has said that in order to feel fulfilled and appreciated I have to be part of a couple to enjoy it with, and no one has ever said to me that I have to observe a holiday I don’t believe in. Saying that Valentine’s Day or any other day is only there to remind us to show our feelings or observe a tradition implies that you do need a reminder, and that you do have a problem with expressing yourself. And saying that it’s just for couples is ridiculous. You can have a nice romantic dinner and bubble bath alone and eat all the chocolates by yourself without having to share. It’s still love and the best part is your soul will appreciate it.
As for Valentine’s Day being “commercialized”….so what? So is every other Western and non-western holiday and if the vast majority of those participating in these ‘commercial’ holidays believed as some do that it’s ‘too commercialized’ all the stores that promote that commercialism would no longer be participating in holiday traditions. Not only that, but if you dislike the commercialism of a particular holiday, you have the right and the freedom to choose to either not participate in it at all or start a new tradition that will make that holiday special for you.
As for St. Valentine’s Day itself, here is a bit of history: February is sacred to Juno Februata, the Roman Goddess of Purification, Fertility and Childbirth who was subsequently replaced in the 3rd Century by those wanting to ‘Christianize’ the pagan celebration of Lupercalia. Juno Februata or Juno Februtis was the goddess who represented Lupercalia, which was a time of getting rid of the bad, stale or unclean, since in early Roman calendars, February was the last month of the Roman year. As for St. Valentine himself, there are no definitive answers to be found, since the Roman Catholic church recognizes three possible candidates who held the name Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were later martyred.
As for Valentine’s Days present-day connection to love, romance, lovers, roses and chocolate, I could easily make an educated guess and say that many of these things are viewed as aphrodisiacs. And as many people are aware, there are a lot of people who employ aphrodisacs when trying to ‘get into the romantic mood,’ which can then easily be seen as also useful for any who are hoping it will also increase fertility which leads us full circle back to that ancient Roman Goddess Februata, who had no connection at all with commercialism or single people.
All I know for certain is that there is still a rather large percentage of the population that love Valentine’s Day and everything it stands for which of course is very fitting, since love is what it is all about.