Valentine’s Day: Do we love or hate it?

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Valentine’s Day: Do we love or hate it?

Annalisa Baranowski | The DePaulia

Annalisa Baranowski | The DePaulia

Annalisa Baranowski | The DePaulia

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Celebrating all love for a day

By Taylor Johnson

Valentine’s Day is approaching and I am thrilled. Bring out the chocolates, sweets, cards, flowers and more.

This is a holiday to celebrate love through romantic partnerships, friendships and family. Oftentimes we tend to think that this holiday is just for romantic relationships, but that’s not completely true. Valentine’s Day is a day to show your appreciation and admiration to your loved ones.

So many times we hear people discuss how they hate this holiday and that we shouldn’t devote one day to showering with gifts and love. I must say, I slightly disagree. Valentine’s Day is no different than a holiday such as Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. Of course, we should express love and appreciation every day, as much as we can, but one specific day to show recognition for that doesn’t hurt.

When we were in elementary school, Valentine’s Day was another day to have a class party. We were excited to bring in candy or cupcakes and share them with the class. Sometimes we even wrote little special notes to our classmates. We are taught early on that this holiday is about being kind and loving.

“Valentine’s day has always been about all kinds of love since I was a kid,” said DePaul student Genera Fields. “My mom always made cookies with us and we’d have fun. I make it an effort to tell everyone I love them and it’s a lovely day.”

With everything else going on in our lives it’s easy to forget small gestures to show thankfulness to the people who support and are there for you. Think of Valentine’s Day as a reminder to stop and do that; to show and tell the people you love, you love them.

“Love can be platonic, familial, within self, or romantic, but at its basis, it is always going to serve as a strong, life connection,” said DePaul alumna, Nyah Hoskins. “Valentine’s day is for anyone who wants to share love.”

There are so many ways to celebrate this holiday. Whether that’s going out, staying in, making hand crafted art, etc., it’s not about what you give or do, it’s the thought that counts.

For people who are in love or dating, this gives you another reason to go out, spend quality time, and share those cute mushy messages. Reassure your partner, and make them feel good, which I’m sure makes you feel good too. Everyone wants to feel valued and loved wholeheartedly. This day correlates with the five love languages: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch.

“I will be spending this Valentine’s day with my partner,” Hoskins said. “We are going to attempt to be chefs and make a three course meal together. We went on a super fancy restaurant date last year, so we want to try something more lowkey this time around.”

Self-love is just as important, and should always be taken into consideration, as it’s common to put others before you. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself; you also matter and deserve love. You can’t depend on anyone else to make you happy if you aren’t happy within yourself. Taking the time to make sure you’re in the right space physically, mentally and emotionally goes along way. There are so many different places you can explore in Chicago alone, and there are usually several Valentine’s day events you can attend.

“I will be spending the day celebrating/practicing self love,” said DePaul student Lameka Hayes. “Regardless of your relationship status, I think everyone else should too.”

Valentine’s Day is another day to appreciate your friends and social circles in other cultures too. Valentine’s day in Finland is celebrated as Ystävänpäivä Friend’s Day, where they celebrate friends, family, neighbors, colleagues and sweethearts of course, according to visitfinland.com.

Who’s to say you can’t do the same thing here in the United States? Gather your friends, and do something you all may enjoy together. Friends are like family that you are able to choose. Celebrate true friendship, as real friends can be hard to find. These relationships are vital to the person you are and the person you will become. 

You can even do something with your family, as these are the people who know you best. Valentine’s Day is not the day to feel alone, surround yourself with people who genuinely love you, as I’m sure you’ll feel the love.

 

The peak of Hallmark holidays

By Jonathan DeCarlo

It’s that time of year again, love is in the air, businesses are decorating their interiors with hearts and anything pink, and new promotions for couples’ deals are flooding Groupon and every other website with ads. My reaction when seeing all this: what a load of malarkey. I’m not a fan of Valentines’ Day at all, but hey, if you like it, good for you.

Valentine’s Day has always been one of those holidays that I’ve questioned why we continue to celebrate it. What purpose does it serve to have one day a year to celebrate love and relationships when we really could be doing it year-round?

Ever since I was little, I would hate having to participate in class school Valentine’s Day parties. Giving valentines to a few good friends here and there was fun, but spending a chunk of time writing out valentines for every single one of my classmates was downright arduous. I barely even knew some of those people and plainly despised others, so giving them little cards filled with hearts and candy was a hard pill to swallow.

Valentine’s Day would always boil down to a popularity contest in my classes. Whoever had the most valentines was considered the most popular person in class, and newsflash: it was never me. While I’ve definitely grown up since then and learned that not all of life is a popularity contest, I still kind of feel the sting of only getting 10 or so valentines while the kid next to me got 25. Looking back, it’s no wonder why I started despising Valentine’s Day. Elementary school kids are mean.

My dislike of Valentine’s Day doesn’t just stem from my oh-so traumatic childhood, though it certainly helped. I take issue with the principle of Valentine’s Day as well. I’m all for people celebrating their relationships and the love that they have for their partners, but why do it all on one day? I think love should be celebrated all year-round, and no one day should hold precedence over another, except if it’s celebrating an anniversary or a marriage. Also, Saint Valentine, the guy the holiday is named after, is also the patron saint of beekeepers, plague and epilepsy as much as he is of love and happy marriages, but I guess we just don’t talk about the first part.

Another big issue that I have with Valentine’s Day is the fact that it’s become such a commercial holiday that it really doesn’t have much significance outside of selling things that essentially profit from your love of someone else. It’s just become a marketing ploy so that companies can sell more cards and candy that are “special” because they’re colored in pink, white and red and covered in hearts. “Valentine’s Day for marketers is about selling a product based on a human social relationship,” said Bree McEwan, a communication professor at DePaul. Businesses (looking at you, Hallmark) use this holiday to essentially play with your emotions and get you to buy their products or services. It’s kind of disgusting if you ask me.

A final issue that I have with Valentine’s Day is that it’s used as a sort of clout machine, especially now during the height of social media. All these couples post pictures and statuses about their wonderful dates on social media and it really bugs me. Oh, you two are having an expensive date at a lavish restaurant downtown, good for you! I’m eating mac and cheese on my couch and watching Netflix.

A problem with our social media-obsessed culture today is that we’re always comparing ourselves to one another, especially on holidays like Valentine’s Day. “Giving a Valentine’s Day gift is between the couple but posting about the gift or going out to dinner, or to an event is an electronic tie-sign,” McEwan said. “Tie signs signal to other people in the network that these two people are in a relationship. There is also the potential for social media to create social comparison, where people might want to try to live up to other’s Valentine’s Day plans.”

So, what should you do if you like celebrating Valentine’s Day? Nothing. Go ahead and keep celebrating it, I’m not going to stop you, nor do I want to. I didn’t write this to demonize people who celebrate Valentine’s Day, I just wanted to point out some of the reasons that I personally don’t like it. Clarice Arther, a media and cinema studies student said that she doesn’t really care too much about Valentine’s Day.

“I feel like February needed a holiday and there it was,” Arther said. “Like, I have a boyfriend and we celebrate it, but I don’t really care too much about it.”

If your significant other doesn’t buy you something fancy or take you out to dinner, that doesn’t mean they don’t love you. Also do me a favor and stop comparing your celebrations to other people, you’re what makes the celebrations special, not what you do.