An epidemic spreads and reaches epic proportions across the world each winter season. Surprisingly enough, it’s not the bird flu, SARS or mad cow disease. Instead it’s much worse: amnesia of the meaning of holidays, particularly Christmas and Valentine’s Day.
As Tuesday quickly approaches, perhaps its time people realized that Valentine’s Day is not just a day where men and women spend oodles of money on frivolous cards, roses that will wilt in three days, and on chocolate that no one needs anyway. Instead, we should take a step back in time and see where the holiday began and how it should be celebrated.
The holiday, often synonymous with love, romance and single awareness, can be traced back to the Catholic Church’s feast day. This time of celebration honored St. Valentine and two other men, all martyred saints who were killed, in the fourth century for their beliefs.
The notion of celebrating Valentine’s Day as a romantic holiday didn’t begin until the Middle Ages. Now the tradition has spiraled out of control into the red, white and pink bleeding holiday people around the world celebrate each year.
The Greeting Card Association estimates that more than one billion Valentine’s Day cards will be purchased, with females making up 85 percent of all buyers. Besides a business boomer for the card industry, Valentine’s Day also ranks as the No. 1 holiday for florists, which should be a no-brainer if you consider the fact that florists produce 180 million roses to sell that day.
The United States isn’t the only country that has commercialized another Christian holiday though. In Denmark, people swap poems and graekkebav, comical love letters that the sender anonymously sends to his valentine. If the receiver correctly guesses who sent the mystery note, then the lucky fellow will receive a candy egg on Valentine’s Day. Why can’t Americans begin a tradition like this that isn’t married to the billfold?
In Korea, men who didn’t receive a valentine in February gather April 14 for Black Day, a day where men count their losses and eat Chinese-style noodles in black sauce.
Despite the quirky and often sweet things that occur because of the commercialized holiday, Valentine’s Day was simply not meant to send men into fear for forgetting to order roses, force lonely men to eat black noodles or to point out the fact that you are still single.
Valentine’s Day is a day to celebrate love, plain and simple. Romantic love, brotherly love, love for your friend and roommate and just love for life in general. As the list for Valentine’s Day card recipients grows this weekend, remember that the day isn’t about candy, hearts and gushy romance. It’s not single awareness day or a lover’s holiday. Valentine’s Day is a day to show love to all mankind, regardless of race, sex, color, creed, and most importantly, availability.