The celebration of Valentine’s Day is not new. Initially, the holiday was a Roman celebration of fertility; women were brutalized in an attempt to “cleanse their sins,” and in return, St. Valentine would grant them a child. Valentine’s Day has moved beyond its barbaric past into a celebration of love. In the 14th century, sending Valentine’s Day love letters became common, and many poets began to reference the celebration as a day of longing for love. Nowadays, the holiday has evolved into a display of corporate greed, with many companies seeing Valentine’s Day as an opportune cash grab.
It is estimated that people in the United States alone will spend upwards of $19.7 billion on Valentine’s Day. With every American racing to stores purchasing chocolate, teddy bears, flowers, jewelry, etc., to prove their love, corporations have successfully fooled the public. Corporations are pushing the narrative that love must be bought, and if you did not receive one of these Valentine’s Day gifts, you must not be loved.
Long gone are the days of handwritten love letters; instead, join with 144 million other Americans and purchase one of Hallmark’s over 1,400 personalized Valentine’s Day greeting cards. Couple that card with a box of Hershey’s chocolates and the perfect heart-shaped Tiffany’s necklace and successfully buy into the $20 million Valentine’s Day industry.
While the meaning of the holiday has stayed the same, corporations have perverted Valentine’s Day to fulfill February quotes. However, this does not mean that people should stop celebrating Valentine’s Day in protest of capitalism. Come February 14th, people should stray away from traditional Valentine’s Day gift-giving and attempt to personalize the holiday to their relationship.
Celebrating love should not entail obligatory engagement in capitalism. Instead of flowers and chocolates, employ creativity in Valentine’s Day plans. Remove yourself from the materialism of the holiday, write your partner a love letter and go on a date you will remember forever. If your love language is gift giving, purchase your partner something that is representative of them and your love for them; do not prove your love through corporate manifestations of Valentine’s Day.
Valentine’s Day is a beautiful holiday; although the origins may be brutal, love should be celebrated. Corporations have manipulated Valentine’s Day into an easy cash grab, monopolizing everyone’s inner romantic. The notion that one must prove their love through meaningless gift-giving on Valentine’s Day is simply false. Instead of placing obscene amounts of money into corporations’ pockets, celebrate Valentine’s Day with your own traditions and practices instead of the ones forced upon you.