VALENTINES DAY AGAIN! UNDERRATED OR OVERRATED?
by Ayanna Jordan on Feb 15, 2022
A day dedicated to a love shared with a partner, a celebration on how much a partner means to you, a performance to the world showcasing a perfect 24 hours. What is Valentine’s Day?
Have we as a society ruined this special day, have we glossed over the history that surrounds 14th February? Is it only recently that that this once Christian holiday has taken a back seat to the capitalist world, we have become accustomed to, buying dying flowers and consuming overpriced chocolates not worth the five second satisfaction? History books itself is unable to guide us in the right direction of the origin of Valentines Day and who Saint Valentine truly was, is he the prisoner who helped Christians during the Roman empire in the third century? Or perhaps he is the prisoner who restored sight to the blind daughter of the very man who incarcerated him. The most populated Saint Valentine is the prisoner who signed a letter to his love ‘from your Valentine’ before his execution.
Why must Saint Valentine be in prison? Must a love story always be tragic to be considered a love story? Shakespeare himself loved to tell a tale so tragic, someone must die, or a love must always be forbidden or even both... Look at Romeo and Julie, a tale so tragic it is considered the greatest love story of all time, but it ends in death and the idea of two families never overcoming their disputes.
Now in the 21st century have we restored the romantic façade of a tragic love story by expressing our love for our partner on social media? Or overshadowed it even more in a quiet competition of look what me and my partner are doing, aren’t we so in love? As the clocks turn to midnight the floods of posts and stories dedicated to a partner begin from all corners of the world expressing their gratitude towards them. Leaving the singletons to scroll and tap past the smiling faces, the embracing hugs and captions declaring everlasting loves. And gifts! So many gifts, and more recently balloons. Where have all these balloons come from, filling up the floor and ceilings of a bedroom shared between two. A couple’s love should be valued every day of the year, no? Valentine’s Day seems to have become more of a performative holiday than a celebration of love.
But does love not shape in many forms? I for one would rather celebrate the love I have for my dog, a companion who introduced me to a love I have never felt before. So strong, I would hurt anyone if she were to come in harms way. Introducing Galentines Day can be seen as an empowering movement from society, allowing us to express our love for our friends rather than a single loved one. But of course, this was just an aggressive combat from the giant corporations to exploit us even further, attacking the lonely on a day that has nothing to do with them.
Are there any arguments that this day can be suggested as underrated and has been taken for granted, or am I just too grumpy because I know I will not be receiving 50 roses again like last year? At least the pressure to uphold Valentine’s traditions has been lifted off my partner, another aspect of the performative showcasing of one’s love to another.