What is Valentine’s Day?


Jamie Street via Unsplash.com

For Centuries Valentine’s Day has been celebrated as the annual day of love and expressing one’s feelings for each other.

For as long as we can remember, Valentine’s Day has celebrated love and expressed affection towards your romantic partner. The day is filled with certain activities like going out and exchanging gifts with your boyfriend or girlfriend. But on this day, many other individuals do not have any significant other with whom to celebrate. Many choose to celebrate with friends and family, while others choose not to celebrate at all. This shows how the romantic aspect of Valentine’s Day has been so popularized that it has made people believe that the primary purpose of Valentine’s Day is for couples. This has caused people to dread this day, as they see couples display their love and care for each other, causing singles to feel lonely. This article will focus on the origins of Valentine’s Day, how it’s celebrated, the different views on how people see the holiday, and if it truly is a day just for couples.

Many believe that the origins of Valentine’s Day started with the martyr St. Valentine. The emperor at the time, Emperor Claudius II, outlawed marriages because he thought that single men were better suited for war compared to married men. This caused St. Valentine to secretly perform marriages to young people without the emperor knowing. When he was discovered performing secret marriages, he was executed in 270 CE. Valentine’s Day began to be officially celebrated as the day of romance in the 14th century. During the 1500s and 1700s, valentine’s messages and printed cards began to be used during the holiday. Valentine’s Day often used Cupid as a symbol during this time because he is often referred to as the god of love. Today many adults celebrate by buying expensive gifts like flowers and jewelry for their significant other to celebrate the day of love. Valentine’s Day is also the occasion for marriage proposals and weddings. Little children in school often exchange gifts like cards and candy with their classmates to celebrate. Children being involved in the celebration indicates another perspective on how the holiday isn’t just focused on adults but on everybody, regardless of age.

Three GC students were asked for their perspectives on Valentine’s Day, and they all shared different outlooks on the holiday. Noelle Bracket ’24 stated, “I think everyone should be able to spend Valentine’s Day together, even if you aren’t in a relationship.” Another student, Marylin Fosu ’24, added, “I think Valentine’s Day is a day for celebrating the love in our friendships and relationships. Couples celebrate their love, but it is also for friends and family. Usually when we think of Valentine’s Day, we think of a special day for couples, which is true, but we can also value the love we have for our friends and family during Valentine’s Day.” The different outlooks on Valentine’s Day reveal how single people don’t have to dread the holiday whenever it comes around. Instead, they should celebrate with friends and family, giving them the love and affection they need. Andrea Merino Perez ’24 expressed how Valentine’s Day could be a day for appreciating family and friends by stating, “I think that since it’s mostly associated with romance, it’s more geared towards couples. However, there’s nothing wrong with expressing love for other people in your life who mean something to you, like family and friends. It’s just a day where you should be reminded to show someone how much they mean to you and appreciate/love them for it.” Expressing love towards family and friends is ok as it allows a single person to realize that they don’t need a partner to celebrate Valentine’s Day, and it can make them more aware of the love surrounding them in their life.

Therefore, a romantic holiday is not meant for just couples alone. Still, it is intended to make all individuals, especially single individuals, have a moment and acknowledge the love that surrounds their lives. Recognizing that love can lead a person not to dread the romantic holiday but rather embrace it. Embracing that love leads to more self-awareness in how a single person views Valentine’s Day. It can also cause them to look inward and think of how love and affection are given to them in their life rather than looking at couples who are expressing their love for each other.

Even though Valentine’s day is garnered towards couples single people can celebrate this day by showing love and care for family members (Alexander Grey via Unsplash.com)

AE. “Content Spotlight: Valentine’s Day.” American English, americanenglish.state.gov/content-spotlight-valentines-day. Accessed 12 Feb. 2023.

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Valentine’s Day.” Encyclopedia Britannica, 9 Feb. 2023, https://www.britannica.com/topic/Valentines-Day. Accessed 12 February 2023.

History.com Editors. “History of Valentine’s Day.” History, 22 Dec. 2009, www.history.com/topics/valentines-day/history-of-valentines-day-2. Accessed 12 Feb. 2023.