Valentine’s Day: Loving cards and candy more than history

By: Gia Omer

February 13, 2013

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and hopeless romantics are anxiously waiting for their partner to express their love in the forms of cards, chocolate and cogitation.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, cynics are shaking their heads to another day of foolishness among irrational people who believe Valentine’s Day is a religious holiday. These skeptics argue that Valentine’s Day was concocted by a group of individuals from a Hallmark company sitting around a discussion table creating a new way to make money during their low profiting months.

The story behind Valentine’s Day can be traced back to the Catholic Church recognizing a saint named Valentinus according to history.com.  The story behind this legend is that an Emperor named Claudius II decided that men should not be allowed to marry or have a family in order for the militia to prosper. Valentinus, a priest, found this law obscene and unjustified. So defying Emperor Claudius II, Valentinus decided to continue to perform the marriages for the lovers in divulged confidence. Once exploited, Claudius had Valentinus executed.

However, this is one of over 15 different stories behind the legend of “Valentine.” If you ask me, this seems to be a game of telephone.

Stories, like much of history, are told from multiple sources and can have many different viewpoints from prior perspectives. With that being said, why doesn’t the Catholic Church acknowledge this event during mass in February or teach children about how courageous Saint Valentinus was in Sunday school?

If retail sales in the United States exceed over 14 billion dollars annually for Valentine’s Day, then this must be a very significant and important holiday, correct?  If holidays like Easter and Christmas make just as much money or more in retail sales and are discussed and celebrated in church, then shouldn’t Valentine’s Day be just as embraced throughout Catholic churches across America?

The fact of the matter is that Valentine’s Day might have once been considered a religious holiday, but times change and holidays like this have no religious value anymore.

If Valentine’s Day was considered a religious day, then wouldn’t people of other faiths be excluded from participation in it? With it being more of an American tradition, it can be considered to be a traditional, “Hallmark holiday”.

Not only does this holiday cost Americans millions of dollars each year, but it also leaves chances for food, clothing and other companies to use the holiday as a way to advertise their products. From pizza joints having specials on heart shaped pizza to White Castle’s reservations for the special night, corporations create discounts in order to have people spend more many than usual on this important, consumer day.

Jewelry companies have 10 times more commercials on television for their Valentine’s Day sales and even clothing stores give discounts on this day. Consumer markets use this tradition in order to increase sales in February.

Adults and skeptical teens call this holiday artificial and pretentious. It puts pressure on newfound love and a burden on long lasting couples to join in on the pink and red madness.

By all means, Valentine’s Day can be a great holiday to express your love for someone, show someone how appreciative you are, or just another excuse to buy something nice for your partner. Whatever the excuse maybe, enjoying a special moment with someone you care about is what the holiday is all about, along with emptying your wallet.