Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 9
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Loving Valentine’s Day

Feature+Section+Feb.+12th+-+Page+13
Feature Section Feb. 12th – Page 13

This article is part of the Featured section. See how it originally look in print by clicking on one of the images below. Article continues below photos.

There are two primary arguments against the celebration of Valentine’s Day. The first, is the “Hallmark holiday” argument: the idea that Feb. 14 signifies nothing but corporate dominance. The other is that Valentine’s Day promotes romance to the point of causing great discomfort and embarrassment to those without a partner.

Valentine’s Day, or St. Valentine’s Day as it is called by some other cultures, has been celebrated since the High Middle Ages, a time when formalized  courtship was fashionable. According to a Belarusian  myth, Saint Valentine carved out his own heart  as a gesture of undying love after being rejected by  his mistress. Feb. 14 allegedly became associated  with romantic love in Chaucer’s circle of friends,  and has since been celebrated in the Western world  and beyond.

In America, Valentine’s Day has long been considered  a commercial holiday, invented and exploited by  the card and candy companies for the sole purpose of  prying money from the hands of consumers. Indeed,  it is hard to repress the cynic within upon seeing the  halls of Safeway crammed with pink and red décor,  fluffy white teddy bears, and Russell Stover’s heartshaped candy boxes.

Such blatant signs of commercialism have led  many citizens of the new millennium to reject the holiday altogether, through boycott and other forms  of protest. This phenomenon has spread far and  wide, from the declaration of Singles Awareness Day  (also celebrated on the 14th) to the official banning of  Valentine’s Day in Saudi Arabia.

There are also many cultures that have devoted  Feb. 14 to friendship and acts of appreciation, from  Finland’s Friend’s Day to Guatemala’s Day of Love  and Friendship.  Though our American celebration is irrefutably  targeted towards lovers, there is no need to exclude  the other forms of love, which are both bountiful and  equally beautiful, from Valentine’s Day. If you find  yourself stuck on the 14th with no lover, there are still  plenty of ways to enjoy the holiday.

Anonymous acts of kindness and hand-made  crafts, for example, provide perfectly lovely, non- (potentially even anti-) consumer solutions. Most  any friend or family member would be delighted to  receive such an expression of love. Rejoicing in love  is an uplifting and uncommon act that should surely  prevent feelings of lonesomeness.

Valentine’s Day could also be used for recognizing  and enjoying American consumerism. There are many antivalentinist individuals who are not opposed  to movies, and everybody likes candy, so why  not get together and watch My Bloody Valentine (the  original Canadian slasher from 1981) and eat Red  Vines? At least one treasure among those that comprise  the vast ocean of pop culture is truly loved by  every American. This love, while petty, is deserving  of celebration in and of itself, if not with friends.

However, if you still find yourself lonely on Valentine’s  Day, in spite of the relationships which already  exist in your life, it is probably because there is another  relationship in your life which is either desired  or in need of repair. If this is the case, it is strongly  recommended that you be bold and take measures to  correct the situation. Whether it is sending a valentine  to a crush or calling your estranged parent, the  action is worth the risk, for our time here is too short  to be spent wondering about missed opportunities or  regretting past falters. Let it be spent with love.

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