Rethinking the true meaning of Valentines’s Day


Ariyanna Wilkes, Staff Writer

Valentine’s Day is well recognized for being a day when couples show their love and appreciation for one another by exchanging admiration and gifts. However, romantic love should not be the only aspect recognized; love in general, regardless of the relationship, should be honored on that day.

Traditionally, the day’s origin isn’t even about romantic connections, but rather about celebrating the death of one or two early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine on Christian feast day. As the years have progressed and Valentine’s Day was established as an official holiday, it has been oriented around couples and the surprises they give such as a dinner date at a fancy restaurant, a hotel room showered in rose petals, concert tickets, clothes, etc. The “man” in the relationship was expected only to spoil the “woman” to make her feel special. But now, the expectation is that they both surprise each other.

Although as a society we have detached from the gender stereotypes associated with Valentine’s Day, the stigma that only couples can be each other’s Valentines remains. When you walk into a store and see cutesy cards intended for a wife or husband, it is only reasonable to think that “the day of love” is geared toward romantic love. But if that narrative was dropped, then more would celebrate with friends and family and feel satisfied. The abundance of love you would receive from the people in your life would make you feel just as wonderful; you wouldn’t give it any thought that it isn’t a partner. 

“I think it is a day where people who have either strong emotions or love for a person can show it in a very positive and comfortable way,” Pariaun Henderson, junior, said. “I feel like nowadays it is hard for people to be comfortable with PDA. With Valentine’s Day, it gives everyone a chance to publicly show their affection for people they care about.”

Galentine’s Day, which originated on Parks and Recreation, is the perfect example of breaking away from the conventional V-Day. The purpose is for ladies to take the day off from their day to day duties and celebrate one another. It is totally up to you and your friends how you spend the day; you can engage in more traditional activities like going out to dinner or more therapeutic ones like spa day or writing things that are holding you back on a plate and shattering it to symbolize you letting those things go.

There are several ways to go about doing this. With your guy friends, you might host a game night, attend a sporting event, go bowling or grab lunch. With girl friend groups, you can enjoy a movie marathon, surprise each other with Valentine’s Day cards, have your nails done or grab coffee together. You can do all of the above with your family or simply enjoy their presence. There are many more options than the handful listed, meaning you’re not limited to them; you just have to go out and find more.

“I feel like Valentine’s Day is a very interesting day. It’s not about just showing love to your significant other,” Kenya Calvert, senior, said. “You can show love to a lot of different people too- friends, family, significant others, pets. There’s a lot of love to go around.”

Even if you don’t have someone else’s attention, you can always get fulfillment from self-love by using the day to set aside some time for yourself and establish an internal connection. There isn’t much discussion of this substitution, but it is an important one since it can help overcome any trauma or self-doubt you may be experiencing. Restoring your sense of self-worth while still feeling special on V-Day is something people should look into. 

As love is so much more than just giving and receiving affection from a boyfriend or girlfriend, Valentine’s Day should not be limited to couples.  It doesn’t matter that you’re getting a stuffed animal from a friend while someone else is getting cards from their boyfriend/girlfriend. Both are distinctive and special in their own right. With this in mind, try to keep the true meaning of Valentine’s Day in sight: a day of love.