Why I am cynical about Valentine’s Day

Zara DeGroot

I’m not an overly cynical person, but I can be when I want to. And right now, I’m going to be. Though I don’t have that strong of opinions about Valentine’s Day, I’m going to pick a side and run with it for the length of this column.  Without further adieu, here are my exaggerated thoughts on why I think Valentine’s Day is a pointless holiday. 

I’m single. And although I’m fairly comfortable with that at this point in time, I think celebrating a day of romantic love should be done with a person that you are in a committed relationship with. I know, I know, you’re going to say “Well, what is wrong with spending the day sharing your love for your friends and family?” That’s great. A good way to make use of this holiday that technically has no point to it. 

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“It has no point?” You challenge me, shocked at my insensitivity. No, it doesn’t. Well, yes it does, but we don’t celebrate it for the historical references. Most holidays are recognized because of religious beliefs, a person of influence or a historically memorable day. That’s why I find Halloween to be excessive, and Valentine’s Day pointless. But Zara, what about the historical significance of St. Valentine? Yeah, that’s a great story and thanks for mentioning that, history nerds. Here’s some backstory:

The legend of St. Valentine tells us the story of a priest in Rome during the third century. He performed marriages for young couples, even after the mean emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage for young men. Claudius found out about Valentine’s secret marriages and killed him. According to history.com, there are a few other myths about Valentine, but we’ll go with this one. Legend has it that Valentine’s Day celebrations started in February as a celebration of St. Valentine’s life, and to “christianize” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia, a fertility festival, that happened around the same time. Eventually, the fertility fests were outlawed and Valentine’s Day became the main day to honor the Saint. But it didn’t become a day of “love” until the Middle Ages, when the French and English noticed that the bird mating season was during this time and decided this day should be dedicated to romance. Because of birds. I’m not making this up, it’s from history.com. 

Nowadays, we don’t wake up on February 14 lighting a candle to honor St. Valentine. If you do, I’m very sorry for the insensitivity. Nor do we wake up and ponder the mating season of birds. This is why I think this day is a bit outlandish. We don’t even recognize it (collectively) for what it really is! We capitalize on large stuffed animals and dinner reservations! Those stuffed animals and dinner reservations make no reference to the historical background of the day! Just eat your filet mignon and accept this rose! 

On the flip side, it is a cheesy, potentially enjoyable day with lots of candy and sweet cards. So I guess part of me does like it. The point I’m trying to make is that it can be overdone. And I bet you agree with me!

Because I am a hypocrite and this column was written with a veil of sarcasm and cynicism that will be removed once my fingers stop typing, I will be celebrating Valentine’s Day by attending a brunch gathering with my friends. I will wear a dress with hearts on it and eat all the heart-shaped Gobstoppers because my gob and my heart for my loving friends and family can’t be stopped, even on February 14. Thank you St. Valentine.

Collegian A&E reporter Zara DeGroot can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com, or on Twitter @zar_degroot