Valentine’s Day – Sweet or Scam?

By: Gabrielle London 

February 14th, a day all of us know and most of us love. Valentine’s Day is one to show love for the people around us, be it family, friends, or a romantic partner. However, there is quite a bit of stimuli around the holiday and it’s legitimacy. Some argue that it’s a corporate scam, a way to get people to spend their money on useless things. But while the day’s origins may be questionable to some, it is without a doubt that Valentine’s Day is a happy day to spread love and should be celebrated as such. 

While we’re all aware of Valentine’s Day, its actual history is little known to most. The holiday’s roots reside in ancient Rome and Catholicism, with Saint Valentine. One legend holds that when ancient Emperor Claudius outlawed marriage for youth because he thought it made better soldiers, St. Valentine performed marriages in secret for lovers. Another story suggests that he helped christians escape torturous Roman prison. The actual Valentine’s day was first recognized by Pope Gelasius in the late 5th century, who wanted a more christian replacement for the Roman fertility festival Lupercalia. The holiday survived the test of time and quickly grew popular around the world; in the 1500s it was common to give tokens of affection like notes, and in the 1700s commercial cards became a symbol of the day. Ever since, it has been known as a day of love to show care for others. 

Despite its popularity and sappy reputation, some people still argue that Valentine’s Day is unnecessary. They argue that because of the connotations behind Valentine’s, showing love for those around you becomes more of an obligation than a token of appreciation. Others feel that the holiday is simply a marketing scam, a way for big companies to get bigger by exploiting lovers. The holiday hadn’t become popular until modern eras, and businesses soon learned that they could capitalize on it. In fact, just this year it is predicted that Americans will spend a total of 21.8 billion on Valentine’s Day gifts, at an average of $165 per person. While the spending for the holiday is undeniably costly, it doesn’t offer justification for the hatred of the day. Why dismiss a reason to show love for those around, in a day celebrated worldwide nonetheless?

What Valentine’s Day really is is a designated day of love and care for everyone. It could be an opportunity to show your appreciation for friends and family or a time spent with a significant other. Perhaps it’s a day of self-love or for some a chance to go out with friends. Although one aspect of the day might be giving materialistic gifts, it is known that the message behind them is what matters most. A box of chocolates or an arrangement of flowers simply serve as a representation for a deep gratitude and display of care. It is important that people show their love, and the day is simply the perfect opportunity to do so. Instead of spreading a negative narrative, why not encourage care?

Valentine’s Day has existed for ages, having a rich and interesting history. Despite the discourse around it in recent times, it is undoubtedly a good day. Valentine’s Day has changed and evolved through history to become what it is today, but the original meaning still stands. After all, love is always worth it to celebrate. 

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