Can You Feel the Love Today?

Georgena Luiso

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A day dedicated to celebrating the ones we love

In most mutual relationships, couples present each other with sweet gestures throughout the year. As Valentine’s Day rolls around, however, it is not only the most dedicated couples who are filled with the all-too-familiar excitedness to give. Today’s Valentine’s Day is entirely unrelated to its history; instead, it’s used for over-the-top romantic gestures, pasted paper hearts in various shades of pink, and an overall happy feeling woven throughout.

The Catholic church recognizes three different saints sharing the name “Valentine,” all of whom were martyred. The most recognized source includes Roman Emperor Claudius II and his forbiddance for young soldiers to be married; he thought they would make more focused warriors if they had no wives to depart from. Roman priest and future saint Valentinus of Terni disobeyed, forming marriages between young couples in secret, and ultimately, was put to death for his actions.

Yet, with no regard to history and martyr, Valentine’s day is instead grasped as something almost entirely unrelated. It is fundamentally used to commemorate romance (friendship, in some cases) as well as to shower loved ones in romantic accolades with an unnecessary flourish. Previously mentioned paper hearts and decorating candy boxes adorn our memories.

Left and right, adolescents and adults alike are carrying gift bags to give or receive, and most hearts tend to remain full. This day is a pure, wholesome holiday, but despite its loving spirit, it can also be surprisingly easy for some people to resent.

The wary attitude towards this holiday is understandable but misplaced. Being single in an environment that is surrounded by romance is admittedly a huge drag. While everyone is predictably chowing down on sweets that are given to them, candy hearts are bought by ourselves, for ourselves.

However, a holiday for romance isn’t intended to be exclusionary towards people who aren’t in a relationship. There is no stigma or baggage to come with not having a significant other, despite the initial baseless assumption. Instead, couples utilize this as an actual special occasion, and others, like me, may regard it as just another holiday in our year. Instead, the hatred is towards the people actually enjoying their relationships, which apparently some others cannot stand.

The holiday is not about hoarding a collection of candied chocolate hearts, or brandishing one’s relationship status. Similar to any spiel you hear about the meaning of any official holiday, having the privilege of giving gifts to others isn’t just a status symbol, but instead lets those who participate feel legitimately kind and fulfilled.