Valentine’s Day– What Part Does it Play Today?

As soon as February rolls around, it seems as though half of the world begins deliberating over date plans and ordering presents, while the other half– well, it doesn’t seem that Valentine’s Day has much planned out for them. With love permeating the air, those of you who don’t have someone to celebrate with may be wondering why the holiday even exists. That’s what I’m here to explain! Prepare for some good ‘ol education

Supposedly, there was an old priest named St. Valentine that lived in third century Rome. The emperor ruling at that time, Claudius II, did not want young men to marry. According to him, having more soldiers in war was more important than having a growing population of which to take men from to fight in war– some very questionable logic indeed. Nonetheless, Claudius II hated Christians. He believed (rightly so) that they were dedicating themselves to and worshipping something other than Rome, so he exhibited a particularly strong command over them. Valentine, to combat this, was said to have held marriages in secret and helped Christian martyrs escape prison, which led to his own imprisonment. Even then, though, he continued to preach his faith, managing to convert a guard named Asterius, whose daughter Valentine fell in love with. Of course, Valentine’s rebellious actions were unacceptable in the eyes of Claudius, so Valentine was put on death row to be beaten and then executed. Before he died, the madlad tried to convert Claudius himself. 

Valentine’s day began as a celebration of an old man who did some things and broke some rules, and also happened to coincide with Lupercalia, a Roman festival where men get randomly paired with a woman they were to give a present through a name-drawing system. Some pairings were even expected to last until the next Lupercalia– sounds fun, right? Here’s the point: while the reasoning behind Valentine’s day seems sound– people love each other, so we might as well celebrate it– its traditions are fairly outdated. Many other holidays make a point of being inclusive, or at the very least have their cultural variations, but Valentine’s day seems to be designed for and only for couples. I believe that there’s a lot more that love can offer, and that Valentine’s Day could make a much better point to celebrate every individual. 

So, if you’re alone this Valentine’s Day, don’t hesitate to grab a comfy blanket and bowl of ice-cream and treat yourself! Or if you can, grab a friend to join you! Through the power of alone-ness (not loneliness), I believe that Valentine’s Day can become a day that empowers everybody, not just a guy from 1700 (!!!) years ago.

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