We’ve heard it all: Valentine’s Day is a commercial holiday, a Hallmark holiday, a day created by greeting card and chocolate companies to celebrate something that really should be manifested all year long.
It has suffered the same fate as Christmas; a day buried beneath so much consumerism, that it is no longer associated with its original meaning or purpose. Feb. 14 is a “holiday” that many of us, generally when we have no one to celebrate it with, have pondered the basis of its existence.
At least it’s not condoning alcoholism with no regard for historical accuracy or political correctness, such as Independence Day, St. Patrick’s Day or Cinco de Mayo. But what purpose does a day pervaded with chocolate, candy hearts, giant teddy bears and red roses serve in our society?
It doesn’t serve any purpose at all, other than to demonstrate the greed and narcissism of a country filled with people ignorant enough to fall for a day all about “proving your love” through possessions.
You may be found with your significant other sipping champagne by candlelight, or maybe in a Mission dive bar, surrounded by empty shot glasses. No matter the context, Valentine’s Day has a very obvious presence in our culture.
For single folk, the excessive post-Christmas presence of Valentine’s gear in every Walgreens and Target throughout the country is a not-so-subtle wakeup call that you are alone. For some people it’s just another day, which is an idea the rest of the country should follow.
It’s not a real holiday unless we get school off. And unlike Martin Luther King Jr. and Columbus, the government apparently doesn’t deem St. Valentine worthy of halting the education system, so it really shouldn’t be such a big deal.
Why, you may ask? Well, let’s just examine several reasons why Valentines Day isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
It’s derived from an extremely depressing history beginning with the beheading of Saint Valentine on February 14, 926 for illegally wedding Christian couples. Then in 1929, the infamous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre occurred in Chicago between two powerful gangs. It was later classified as one of the most violent and bloody gang fights in history.
While it is one of the most popular days of the year for jewelers, florists and chocolatiers, it is also a busy day for suicide hotlines. Beginning around Valentine’s Day and during spring, suicide rates increase nationally, Director of Suicide Prevention Service of the Central Coast Diane Brice said, according to City on a Hill Press.
In addition, two weeks before Valentine’s Day American jewelry sales accumulate 34 million tons of mine waste worldwide every year, according to nonprofit organization Earthworks. Also damaging our environment and rapidly exhausting fossil fuels is the vast number of red roses being cut, sold and shipped annually from South America to the United States to fulfill buyers’ needs to impress.
Killing trees has even become a tradition for Valentine’s Day with 145 million cards being sent in the U.S. every year, according to the Greeting Card Association in a History article. Apparently, hitting that special someone with Cupid’s bow also means hitting the ozone layer.
Whether you are giving your whole heart to someone or just wholeheartedly celebrating single awareness day, doesn’t change the fact that Valentine’s Day is a bogus holiday shrouded in commercialism and ignorance. Though it’s virtually harmless to eat a few conversation hearts or become someone’s secret admirer, this holiday is founded on questionable morals.
Try something different this year and simply spend time with the one you love or give the money you would spend on a flimsy valentine or cheesy stuffed animal to someone who actually needs it. Really spread the love instead of buying into the wasteful and just plain stupid traditions of this contrived day of affection.