It all started with Saint Valentine of Rome. The legend has changed from year to year but the basis of the story has stayed the same. St. Valentine of Rome was imprisoned by Roman Emperor Claudius II, for being a Christian. Throughout all the interrogation and turmoil he faced for what he believed in, he maintained his faith and even spread it to the people around. After supposedly healing the daughter of the man that was watching over him, St. Valentine fell in love with her and left her a letter signed “Your Valentine” before he died. Different variations of the story tell of a Saint that went around marrying soldiers and promoting love along with his belief in God. However, there is another St. Valentine in history that was mentioned with the date of February 14th and so it was put in Christian calendars as a day to recognize the saint. After that, lovers through the ages would write letters and sign them as a valentine.

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Today, Valentine’s Day has evolved to celebrate love, affection, and the care one feels for another person. Hearts, flowers, and chocolates are commonly associated with the holiday as well. In America especially, people spend hundreds of dollars on significant others on this day alone to show their love. In fact, it is even observed in schools, through the production of cartoon themed cards that children are supposed to give to their classmates. Some might even say that the holiday has become more about the bells and whistles rather than the love itself that everyone is supposed to be sharing. Many folks use Valentine’s Day to show off for their S.O. rather than showing a consistent flow of affection. It shouldn’t take a holiday for people to pay those that they love some attention.

There is also a stigma around the holiday as well. There is such a high expectation for everyone to buy expensive gifts and spend lavishly for their partner. And if you are without a partner or do not receive this type of attention, you can be made to feel less important. This isn’t fair. It isn’t uncommon to see post from the people in this generation seeking to find dates or get into relationships right before February in order to have someone to flaunt for the sake of their image. What is most mind blowing, is that the holiday is rooted in the belief of God and a saint’s unconditional love for his Creator and now it bears little resemblance to the reason for its inception. We, as humans, with our compulsion to be recognized, have changed it to promote the consumerist lifestyle we are all accustomed to living.

In the coming days, we will see more and more jewelry adds, heart-shaped chocolates filling the grocery store aisles, and pink hearts plastered everywhere. Love songs will be constantly filling the speakers of car radios and the smell of roses will cling to the insides of our noses. And the individuals who find themselves without someone to celebrate with can always indulge in the half priced chocolate that comes with Singles Awareness Day (a new found “anti-Valentine’s Day” meant to pay homage to all the single people in the world). Either way, one thing is for sure, Valentine’s Day should return to its roots and go back to being about love and sharing your heart through your words and actions rather than the amount of money you can spend.

 

Picture Credits: New Harmony Inn & BBC News

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