Does Valentine’s Day Really Have Emotional Value?

Does Valentine's Day Really Have Emotional Value?

Does Valentine’s Day Really Have Emotional Value?


Ally Bell – no
love is in the air. This disgusting store window told me. It’s this situation that makes me shy away. Cold temperatures and impatient shoppers don’t scream romance. I think people are holding hands just to avoid numb fingers.

Who are we doing this dazzling Valentine’s Day ritual for? No, not our distracted partner. The answer lies in ancient Rome…

With the whispers of war, black clouds rolled over Palatine Hill. The air was heavy with shadows and ominousness. Thunder roared with the dance of lightning. Enter Emperor Claudius II, who begins speaking with supernatural authority (and cinematic convenience) projecting his voice to the masses.

“We are at war,” he said, “if our men are going to fight, they must be willing to give their lives for Rome. But too many hesitate, spear in hand, thinking that their wives are going on with their lives. Reason. Therefore, I decree that all men of fighting age are prohibited from marrying. May your hearts be thrown into battle and the blood of war be poured into them”. Emperor Claudius II was a charming man.

All the heads below bowed solemnly in unison. The crowd fell at the feet of their leader. But one head still faces forward, mysteriously lit from above. That head is St. Valentine’s.

Love cannot be sacrificed in the name of colonial greed. The young pastor put the sanctity of marriage on his shoulders and vowed not to deny a holy marriage to those who wished for a holy union. Swords intersected, footsteps resounded throughout the city, and Valentine held a wedding in the secret of his own home. A paradise for lovers and lovers.

But Claudius would not be deceived. Claudius, annoyed that his men seemed to have nothing to live for but to unite the lost territories of the Old Empire, had Valentine executed. Just before raising the knife to end the story, the young priest, with pride in his eyes, turned to his executor, and said.

“May my name live forever,” he cried. “May people remember from today how I fought for love and not war (maybe Valentine was the original 60’s hippie). May my legacy be cemented in panic-buy Pandora charms and a rush to M&S . . . February 14 will be a romantic ceremony”.

Thank you for indulging me so. By the way, for any astute historian, I know that Valentine’s Day begins with Chaucer, but I don’t want to read all of The Poultry Council. Still, that’s an ebullient story about the martyred St. Valentine, with the same name as that good day, and we see how far we can downplay what “cultural events” and “love relationships” mean. I can’t help but think that our saint would raise his eyebrows if he walked down the street and saw his name being used as an excuse to divert repurposed Christmas chocolate. That beheading was really worth it. It’s almost as bad as Christ’s resurrection being tied to a magical rabbit hiding eggs in the woods.

Although I’m planning to do it for Valentine’s Day, really, I’m totally indifferent to the whole show (my girlfriend would be thrilled to read this). Maybe that’s why I spend half of this post dramatizing the saint’s story. Couples hold hands and enjoy desperate home-cooked meals and YouTube tutorials. Gas stations are empty of flowers. The two 14-year-olds got together in January to express their undying love. Not suitable for me.

Of course, it’s a bit like the invention of capitalism to keep the personalized chocolate industry alive every year. But give me a western tradition that isn’t. No, the problem isn’t that it frustrates singletons. The reason Valentine’s Day needs to be left behind is because it’s a sad reminder to make excuses for a culture. In love with heart key rings? really?

We’ve taken this story out of the ankle and shaken all change and meaning out of its pocket. Now let’s drop it and do the same for Halloween.

Abi Ramsay – yes
Saint Valentine, Eros and Cupid – the original idols of love. Now let’s see A$AP Rocky and Rihanna have a baby, or Zendaya and Tom Holland buy a cheesy Love To quote, celebrity gossip reminds us that ‘love is actually all around us’ – but why has it become such a bad thing?

Whether it’s that messy and invisible love Euphoria, or the “POV” trend on TikTok, where the algorithm somehow manages to show you 25 edits of your favorite celebrity (hi, Sebastian Stan), or even Instagram, where your peers are Post pictures with their loved ones – we are constantly exposed to love. And, what better way to celebrate it than with a day designed around a cheesy, outrageous and overzealous manifesto of worship?

Valentine’s Day. This day will either make your heart sing or make you tremble with fear. For some, Valentine’s Day has lost all value, and some see it as a commercialized scam to make you feel lonely or spend money. However, I disagree with this assessment because Valentine’s Day is a universal day for spreading love – which we cannot take for granted, especially in our modern world.

Last year, Valentine’s Day was subject to nationwide restrictions, with the UK entering its third lockdown from January 6. This means that many couples are separated across the country, virtual dating is the new normal, and stay-at-home planning has become necessary. These constraints make it difficult for people in love to get along, which means this Valentine’s Day without limits is something to celebrate. However, the restrictions do allow for adding “Galentine’s Day” and celebrating with your roommates; my house does way too much homemade cocktails and karaoke in the fashion world.

One of the beauties of Valentine’s Day is that it’s universal. Granted, it’s undeniably tacky, but it’s encouraged from an early age to give your loved one a card and a gift — perhaps so future generations can adapt to their emotional vulnerability. Valentine’s days of the past can also be important anecdotes to look back on, and in elementary school, they usually involved a marriage or two. Stories of Valentine’s Day can be heard at all ages, with some couples celebrating their 70th year of love and others celebrating a budding relationship.

But it’s not a day reserved for relationships either. As hyped as it is, that doesn’t mean us singles can’t have fun and enjoy a cheesy day of celebration. In fact, I find it more fun to spend time with friends than to engage in anticipated Valentine’s Day plans as a couple. It can serve as a day for you to celebrate all the people you love in your life; be it family, friends, partners, or even pets.

So is Valentine’s Day cheesy and commercial? Make no mistake, though, that’s not necessarily a bad thing! Constant advertising of food, cards, chocolates and flowers means great discounts on most of your favourites. Food delivery services often have special discounts, and even the fanciest restaurants have specials for dining out (and it’s not just reserved for couples!). This year my friends and I will be taking advantage of Ask Italian, who offer a three-course set menu with drinks and free love breadsticks for £25 – what’s not to like?

And, if you think Valentine’s Day discounts are big, chocolate and rose sales are usually bigger the next day, as supermarkets need to get rid of heart-shaped chocolates for Easter eggs. So, is Valentine’s Day still a celebration of Saint Valentine and his martyrdom on February 14, 269 AD? Will not. But regardless of your relationship status, can it make you have fun? Absolutely – something we shouldn’t change.

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