Point/Counterpoint: Is valentine’s day overhyped?


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From bizarre, pagan history, Valentine’s Day has become one of the most popular American holidays. With the exchange of Valentine’s Day gifts, many were polarized on the exclusive, commercial nature of the celebration.

Point: Why Valentine’s Day is overhyped… by Mia Halper

Valentine’s Day: the day of flowers, gifts, chocolates, dates and romance. It’s beloved by many, but this holiday isn’t quite all it’s cracked up to be. For many, it’s a day of stress, disappointment and loneliness. This popular February holiday is definitely overrated.

An argument can be made that Valentine’s Day is enjoyable for those who actually have dates and relationships. Due to all of the hype and excitement surrounding Valentine’s Day, however, the process of planning a date and picking out a gift can be incredibly stressful. Valentine’s Day is heavily idealized, and the focus on picking out the best thing for others detracts from what the day should be. Taking away some of the hype and idealization around Valentine’s Day would make the day far less stressful for those in relationships.

The push by companies and the commercialization of Valentine’s Day have warped it into something it shouldn’t be. Every year, stores quickly fill up with roses, hearts and other themed items. Ads ramp up involving jewelry and other trinkets said to be “the perfect Valentine’s Day gifts.” This mindset and push by companies causes immense stress on those with dates or in relationships to make Valentine’s Day ‘perfect.’ It also makes the focus purely on material things rather than on purely expressing love.

Another downside of Valentine’s Day is, naturally, the sense of loneliness it gives those not in relationships. Alternatives like “Galentine’s Day” do exist, but they do little to dim the unhappiness one feels when looking at seemingly happy couples. Many people constantly want or are in search of a relationship, and Valentine’s Day simply intensifies these feelings.

Some may argue that despite the focus of capitalism, Valentine’s Day is still legitimate and romantic. This is untrue. The focus on material things takes away from the heart of what the holiday should be: a day to spend time with those you love without thinking about perfection.

With all the hype surrounding Valentine’s Day, it’s impossible for the holiday to change for the better. But, for a moment, let yourself consider a better day. Rather than a day dedicated to expensive gifts and expensive dates, imagine a day where all you do is simply spend time doing the things you love with the people you love. Yes, some people achieve this already, but for our society as a whole, a greater change to our attitude in relation to Valentine’s Day is necessary to improve the holiday.

Counterpoint: Why Valentine’s Day is awesome! by Blake Bailey

Valentine’s Day holds origins in the legend of a Christian priest, St. Valentine, and the ancient Roman festival of Lupercalia, a bloody celebration of fertility and health. Dating back centuries B.C., the festival was pagan and criticized by many prominent priests, who looked for methods to disband the “sinful” celebration. Around 270 AD, after the death of St. Valentine, they did just that, placing a commemorative Valentine’s feast on that day in an attempt to “Christianize” the event. At the time, the day was merely a celebration of Valentine and did not relate to romance till around the 14th century, after poets creatively began to reference the ancient ties to fertility towards relationships and loving conception.

By the 15th century, as these romantic themes had begun to further develop, the first recorded valentine was written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of New Orleans, while he was locked away in the Tower of London. Thus, the celebration we know today was officially born. Over the next few decades, the holiday spread about Europe like the plague and produced dozens of more classic, storied romances, even reaching the heart of King Henry V.
Today, Valentine’s Day is a time of great excitement for newer relationships and an opportunity to rekindle some sparks for couples that have stood the test of time. Who are we to turn away from a historically beloved holiday? Who are we to spurn centuries of classical romance as well as thousands of years of annual celebration? At its core, our modern iteration of Valentine’s Day celebrates not only material purchases but poetry, serenades and letters of love, as well. It reminds people to appreciate their partners, and its American, commercial evolution does not make that any less genuine.

You are free to choose the method of expression!

Deliver a beautiful bouquet of orchids, a heartfelt poem and premium chocolates in a heart-shaped box. Receive a reservation at your favorite restaurant and a beautiful serenade. Valentine’s Day is that special time of the year when we turn our spending toward those who walk with us through hardship and blessing. As much as the commercial aspects of our holidays have been criticized, we have to remember these gestures still help create cherished, lifelong memories. Here at WJ, the Hispanic/Latin Heritage club has joined in the celebration offering students numerous, affordable gifts, which were distributed on Valentine’s Day during third and fourth period. During lunch on Feb. 15, they held serenades with the choir in the student commons.

For the single students who feel left out, that should not be an issue. Fathers are not celebrated on Mother’s Day and vice versa. It’s simply not your holiday. Not to mention, lighthearted celebrations such as “Galentine’s Day” have become more prominent over recent years for those who still want to get in on the fun. And finally, for those worried about holiday price tags, I encourage them to remember that all payments are made willingly, and profiting companies should not be criticized for simply navigating our competitive economy.