1. Take Time to Celebrate Love
By Alisa Patience
The older we get, the more time seems to blend together. It feels like spring semester just started even though it’s already February, and I, for one, am losing track of semesters. When another holiday approaches I am taken aback, surprised as it feels like life is passing all too quickly. That’s why any reason to celebrate, any moment to look forward to, is important. It allows you to be reminded of the time passing and lets you enjoy being alive.
Valentine’s Day is on the horizon, and the “Valentine’s Day sucks” attitude is exactly what makes the holiday difficult for so many people. Something that should be exciting, allowing for reflection and happiness, becomes an approaching nightmare when it shouldn’t be. Too often people in relationships think they have to spend a bunch of money for their significant other, and for most singles, they’re getting ready to roll their eyes at loving couples as they prepare for a night of sadness and loneliness.
While I certainly hate the capitalist, materialistic society we live in, the fact of the matter is there’s rarely any time to truly celebrate love. That’s why Valentine’s Day is necessary. Each holiday exists to remind us of important things in life, and Valentine’s Day does just that; just as Memorial Day reminds us to take the time and think of those who have passed, Thanksgiving reminds us to be thankful and New Year’s reminds us to set goals for ourselves. Winter holidays allow us to set time aside for our smiles.
Even if it isn’t about romance, Valentine’s Day can be for love between best friends, family members and, most importantly, self-love. There is no other holiday that exists outside of the “Parks and Recreation” universe that allows for people to take a day to love and appreciate his or herself. So regardless of your relationship status, there’s still room to celebrate Valentine’s Day and make it a holiday worth looking forward to.
If you find this day stressful because you believe you will have to spend a lot of money, remember that your significant other loves you no matter how much money you have, and you can plan a romantic date for little to no money. You can set up a nice picnic in the house with candles and a homemade meal. You can handcraft Valentine’s together — an activity that is fun and somewhat productive. You can have a romantic movie night with lots of snacks. The important thing is you spend time together, and Valentine’s Day can be a great excuse to do that.
If you’re single and you’re stressed because you don’t want to spend the day alone, consider doing some activities with some friends and celebrate “Palentine’s Day.” Just spend a day with your pals and celebrate how amazing you all are as individuals. Play games, eat food and go shopping because in a world and on a campus where everyone is busy and has classes and work, having a day to just stop and love each other can be nice.
Valentine’s Day can even be an excuse to celebrate familial love. Some of my favorite Valentine’s Day memories are with my parents, usually my dad, giving me a stuffed animal to mark the occasion. You can take this day to let your family know that you love them by sending members thoughtful cards and treats.
If Valentine’s Day seems stressful or stupid to you because you are either single and don’t want to be forced to spend time with other singles, or you just can’t stand the idea of love, don’t treat the day as a “Valentine’s Day.” Treat it as a “Treat Yo Self” day. Buy yourself a treat. Make yourself a nice breakfast, and then eat it in bed. Take a bath with bubbles and incense. Spend the whole day doing your favorite hobby, playing video games or reading. Watch all of your favorite movies. Make yourself a nice dinner, or take yourself on a date. Get all dressed up and go have a meal at your favorite restaurant because even if you don’t approve of the gross consumerism often associated with all Hallmark holidays, or you’re bitter about Cupid’s holiday, you still deserve to feel loved.
As someone who’s a sucker for anything pink or heart-shaped, I realize I have a bias. I know that the hearts and the glitter aren’t what matters. It’s the love that is shared and celebrated. There is no wrong way to celebrate the season of love, except to not celebrate it at all. So grab your significant other, your best friend, your family or even yourself, and take the time you deserve to celebrate love in all its forms.
2. A Holiday to Detest
By Natalie Parkin
Oh, February, the month of Valentine’s Day — the season of hearts, love, roses and that gushy, lovey-dovey feeling in the air. Romance is all around us this time of year, wherever we go. It’s just so … disgusting — revolting, to be honest.
Valentine’s Day is typically a holiday you either adore or detest. This goes for singles and couples combined. The season of love symbolizes admiration, but it also represents empty wallets from unnecessary purchases to impress a certain someone, let-downs and loneliness.
The history of Valentine’s Day, surprisingly, wasn’t a pretty picture either. To the Romans, the month of February was also sacred to Juno Februata, the goddess of women, marriage and the febris (“fever”) of love. During the Roman Empire, on Feb. 14, small pieces of paper called billets were put into a container. Each slip had the name of a teen-aged girl written on it. Teen-aged boys would choose one billet at random and that boy and girl, depending on who he chose, became a so called, “couple.” They would join in erotic games at feasts and parties celebrated throughout Rome, kind of like a blind date. After the festival, the “couple” would remain sexual partners for the rest of the year. This custom was observed in the Roman Empire for centuries.
Today, the holiday doesn’t seem much different. Think about it: couples, erotic feasts (at The Cheesecake Factory or Olive Garden), sex, dates. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was also gift giving throughout this Roman custom similar to our roses, chocolates and giant teddy bears. It’s pretty clear we still practice this custom today on a more modern scale.
February, it would seem, is all about money, diamonds and shallow representations of love (whatever your definition of that is). And if you don’t have a partner to spend this day with, it’s a day to mule over in loneliness, feeling the weight of your pathetic love life while you watch chick flicks and wish the actor in the motion picture was you.
Whether you are taken or single, Valentine’s Day is not the perfect holiday pop culture and the media make it out to be. In fact, February, the beginning of spring time, is the most depressing time of the year. Diane Brice, director of the Suicide Prevention Service of the Central Coast, shockingly shared that although “the myth is that Christmas is the most high-risk time for people to become suicidal … actually it’s springtime. … Nationally, that’s the time with the highest rate of suicide.”
“… February comes and you’re supposed to be in love and you’re supposed to be feeling better because it’s springtime, but some people don’t. … That’s when it gets really difficult for people, because of the expectation to feel better. … It’s because there’s so much emphasis put on being partnered and being in love, and a lot of people just aren’t.”
This is what the season of Valentine’s has come to: depression, loneliness, suicide, let downs and empty wallets. It doesn’t matter whether you have a significant other or not. We all have felt the weight of this “loving” season at one point or another. For most of us, Valentine’s Day has just become a money sucking, overeating and depressing holiday. In fact, to counter the negativity many people have renamed the holiday in an attempt to make it more praising of single people. “Galantines,” or “Single Awareness Day” are names attributed to Feb. 14 in a mental attempt to separate people from the recognition of Cupid’s bow and arrow. In celebrating bachelor- and bachelorette-hood, people are less likely to feel bad about missing out on the February festivities because they’re “unloved.”
No matter how many Victoria’s Secret bras, fancy dinner reservations or boxes of chocolates you purchase, it’s possible nothing will make you happy or giddy on this dreadful day. When looking at the reality behind this holiday, it would seem that Valentine’s Day is not as rosy as many of us would like to believe.