Real meaning of Valentine’s Day forgotten

A’sha Noble
Opinion Staff Writer
anoble@unca.edu

Across the world, we set the mood and turn the lights down low on Valentine’s Day. It is also the time of the year we spend excessive amounts to show our significant other just how much we love them by going all out to spoil them. You buy gifts, flowers and chocolates you ordinarily would not, all while ending the night with dinner to meet the standards of the holiday as well as your significant other.

“Valentine’s Day is most definitely over-commercialized. People have made it all about chocolate and showing off, ” said Jack Ryan, a freshman at UNC Asheville.

The actions that take place to ensure someone has a great day full of love should be done everyday. We over-glamorize this holiday and spend billions of dollars on candy, flowers and chocolate for this event.

With Christmas out of the way, the beginning of January becomes a perfect time for stores to start setting up their Valentine’s Day displays.

“I’m Catholic so I actually know the history of St. Valentine,” said Tiana Bush, a senior art student. “It rubs me the wrong way that Valentine’s Day is turning into a secular holiday as well as Christmas and Easter. I feel like someone’s taken apart of my upbringing and changed it for their own benefit.”

Stores go from one holiday to the next very quickly. The meaning becomes lost in the transition and packing up of last holiday’s belongings.

Valentine’s Day is rooted in ancient pagan and Roman traditions. Today, the holiday is more about commercialization than love. Photo courtesy of Lisa Zins.

“People try to remove the religion from it but you can’t do that. You need to know the history,” Bush said. “Christians were under the rule of Romans and didn’t have the freedom to marry, so St. Valentine secretly married men and women. Emperor Claudius II believed that single young men made better soldiers than married men and wouldn’t allow young men to get married.”

In reality, Valentine’s Day should be used as a day to remember the saint himself who continued officiating the union of young couples.

Abbi Shelton, a freshman, spends the day with her boyfriend.

“I use the day as an excuse to buy him gifts. I don’t think Valentine’s Day itself is important. It’s a reason to do stuff, I guess, ” Shelton said.

In total, the National Retail Federation estimated Valentine’s Day spending is expected to hit $19.7 billion this year.

Yet many Americans do not even celebrate the day. According to the National Retail Federation, on average only about 55 percent of Americans engage in Valentine’s Day festivities. This percentage will spend about $143.56 each.

“Me and my boyfriend keep the day pretty low-key and don’t spend too much. We go out to dinner at a nice place and enjoy time together,” Shelton said.

Valentine’s Day often puts a sour taste in some people’s mouths. Kristen McCauley, a sophomore drama student, said she doesn’t care about the holiday in particular.

“I don’t give a rat’s ass about Valentine’s Day,” McCauley said. “There’s more gendered advertisements like women creepily and sexually eating chocolate insinuating that men don’t eat chocolate. Who cares?”

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