BackTalk: Valentine’s Day raises holiday controversy

Valentine’s Day not just all about romance

by Kaitlyn Hyde

Valentine’s Day – people either love it or hate it.

I can’t think of another holiday when people have such mixed and extreme feelings about it. I do, however, find it comical as to how strongly people feel about Valentine’s Day, and usually the people who feel the strongest are those who hate it the most. But also, it’s sad to me that a holiday meant to celebrate love could be so hated.

Let’s take Valentine’s Day for what is, without all the weird, commercialized pressure to get a date. Forget the fact that it’s the one time a year everyone buys overhyped and overpriced chocolates. It’s a day that celebrates love. Couldn’t we all use a little more of that?

There are a lot of aspects of life that are hard, stressful, and unrewarding. Without some love in our lives, nothing is really worth enduring. You don’t need romantic love or family love in order to celebrate Valentine’s Day. If the only person you love in this world is yourself, then you’re not only set for Valentine’s Day, you’re set for life. That is the hardest type of love to achieve, and that’s worth celebrating.

But like I said, people still love to hate on Valentine’s Day. As much as it’s an easy target for bashing, Valentine’s Day is one of the best holidays.

Yes, that was a difficult sentence to type, only because in the past it has always been a day I enjoyed boycotting. In reality, it’s not as bad as most people make it out to be.

One of the biggest arguments that has come up for celebrating Valentine’s Day is that we should celebrate love every day. While I agree we should celebrate love every day, I think this argument is flawed. Then the same could be said for Christmas, Easter, birthdays or any other holidays you may celebrate.

Whether it’s the celebration of love, the gift giving, or the celebrations of one’s life, this should all be things we celebrate on a daily basis. But we don’t. So, Valentine’s Day really is no different. There’s nothing wrong with taking a day to celebrate love, but it doesn’t take away from celebrating love every other day.

That being said, it doesn’t necessarily have to be romantic. If you’re single, that doesn’t mean you can’t participate in Valentine’s Day. It’s always fun to get gifts for friends or even family to celebrate.

No matter how you feel about Valentine’s Day, it’s not a mandatory holiday. You can ignore all of it, and life will return to normal on Feb. 15. Your relationship status does not define you, and you can celebrate this day however you want to.

Hopefully, though, you’re with someone you love, no matter who that is. And if you choose not to, that’s fine.  But don’t rain on others’ parades when they do choose to celebrate. Just because you may not like the holiday doesn’t mean others have to feel the same way.


Competition ruins Valentine’s Day

by Reece Turner

Valentine’s Day is a festival of romantic love, involving poetry, cheap chocolates, flowers and empty promises in the form of mass marketed gift cards.

It is hard to find anything that is not superficial when Valentine’s Day comes around. There are better ways to say, “I love you” any day of the year without throwing money at restaurant chains, large jewelry franchises and bogus chocolate companies.

I think that Valentine’s Day is a convenient excuse for large corporations to make money. Hallmark makes a killing selling cards. Jewelry stores see their business boom, and chocolate sellers make bank on the cheapest product they can produce. Restaurants will have “Valentine’s Day Specials” that are generally marked up dishes that you could get cheaper any other day of the year. Valentine’s Day is also just an excuse to mark up retail prices.

Whoever thought the colors pink and red should be plastered together all over every major store, Valentine’s Day advertisement, and heart-shaped boxes of chocolates should have their cattle slaughtered. Nobody in his or her right mind wants to see this stuff.

Why be an insatiable consumer when you can create a gift or plan an adventure on the other 364 days of the year? Some people receive Valentine’s Day as an excuse to be romantic for one day out of the year and remind their significant other, “I’m romantic, look what I did for you on Valentine’s Day,” even though, for the rest of the year, they were putting aside their relationship for work or being emotionally unavailable.

People should treat others how they would like to be treated all year. If a person would like a bouquet of flowers here and there, or a box of chocolates that actually tastes good, simple gifts that let your person know that you are thinking about them, then they should get them any other day of the year besides Valentine’s Day. In some relationships, gifts are expected at Valentine’s Day. Well, expectations breed disappointment, in my experience.

I’ve gone out of my way in the past to make amazing gifts that required many hours of work as a Valentine’s Day present for my significant others through the years. Some of the time, the fabricated gifts were shoved aside, with only the store/internet purchased gifts being truly appreciated. This partially explains why they are exes now, but this does not mean I will not keep trying to do something truly special for my person.

I always welcome another reason to be romantic. Valentine’s Day can be one of them. But I also think that people should be more creative than the old tropes we see that are Valentine’s Day dates. Do not falter under the trap that is 21st Century consumerism. Instead of dinner and a movie, how about a hiking trip or nature walk in a place you both have never been before? Don’t buy anything. Instead, go to a special place, write a poem or song, or paint something together.

Our lives should not revolve around competition and materialistic values, but instead community, spirituality, and, especially, love.


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