This year, Arkansas had a white Valentine’s Day that prevented as many celebrations from taking place but love was still in the air. Chocolates, roses, and candle-lit dinners are all staples of this day that make it that much more special. However, there is a big population that isn’t so fond of the holiday. Whether you love it or hate it, are single or in a relationship, when the day gets close, it is almost impossible to escape.
A day set aside for the appreciation of loved ones was not always filled with roses and chocolates. The origins were different and much grimmer from how it is celebrated now. The most common origin story of Valentine’s Day is said to be the ancient festival of Lupercalia.
According to History.com, it was “a bloody, violent and sexually-charged celebration awash with animal sacrifice, random matchmaking, and coupling in the hopes of warding off evil spirits and infertility.”
This celebration continued on for centuries during mid-February, but as the Roman Empire shifted into a more Christian ideology, it became a celebration honoring St. Valentine. Now, we know it as a romantic day where people show to express their love for each other through various gifts (sometimes too expensive if you ask me) and other gestures.
Because of the progression of Valentine’s Day, there are many different points of view about the day and its meaning. I asked a few people what they thought about Valentine’s Day. Here are a few opinions on Valentine’s Day.
James Johnson, a senior mass communication major at UA-Little, likes to enjoy the day with all his loved ones, not just a significant other. He also acknowledges that Valentine’s Day has changed over the years.
“Though I feel that the meaning behind Valentine’s Day has been watered down and over-emphasized, I feel that it’s still a very sacred holiday to be celebrated,” said James. “It’s a tradition in my family for my mom to give us gifts and baskets of candy every year and we double up on her presents since her birthday is the day before the holiday.”
Susan Schade, a graduate student at the school of mass communication, has had a not-so-common experience on Valentine’s Day.
“During my junior year of high school, I had a boyfriend on Valentine’s Day for the first time, and I decided to get him something nice. We had not discussed getting each other anything because I thought it was just something you just did on that day,” said Susan. “When I gave him his not-so-cheap gift, he did not bother to look up from his phone. He shoved it out of the way and that’s when I knew I had to break up with him. Needless to say, I was boyfriendless the next day.”
I found myself relating a lot to Laura Jansen, a junior mass communication major, and Shyanne Kidd, a sophomore mass communication major, who expressed a more cynical opinion than others.
“I don’t really celebrate Valentine’s because I think that it is weird that people make one day so big and buy each other gifts even though they can do that every day when they are together,” said Laura. “Why is that one day so special? I think you can be sweet and generous whenever you want.”
Shyanne shared her thoughts on the day. “Growing up, I felt that Valentine’s Day was sweet for those who celebrated the day, but now I don’t see why people go all out for one day? Why can’t they show love all the time?” she said. “If you love someone, then you shouldn’t dedicate one day to them. I guess you can say that we get the chocolate’s the day after everyone else celebrates it.”
Other opinions were more general but still loved the spirit of what the holiday means these days. Aside from romantic relationships, some like to celebrate the friendships they have and value on this day.
Caitlyn Robbins enjoys the day as much as she can because to her, it is a day to show your love for others and get dressed up. And it doesn’t hurt that her favorite color is red.
“If I’m not in a relationship, I’ll probably call up my best friend and go out to dinner or get our nails done,” said Caitlyn. “Something special/an excuse to get dressed up in my favorite color (red) and do our make-up. If I am in a relationship there’s usually a gift exchange and a special date.”
Valentine’s Day as we know it is not the same for everyone. That day can also be a birthday for some or even a grim memory for others. For Remington Miller, a junior English and mass communications double major, Valentine’s Day still has a lovely meaning about relationships and self-care but just a year ago, she had a loved one pass away on this day.
“My brother-in-law overdosed. I got the call that morning and things felt really different. It was a hard pill to swallow seeing my older sister lose her husband and to see my younger sister lose someone she had been building a relationship with,” Remington recalls. “When I think of Valentine’s Day roses, I think of the untouched ones from the last bouquet he brought to my house that stayed there for months until my mother put them into a shadow box.”
Aside from the romantic part, there are many ways to still appreciate Valentine’s Day. Regardless of disliking the holiday, it is inevitably celebrated throughout the US every year, so maybe, as Shyanne does, have a sweet next day with discounted chocolate.