By. Bailey Sessions
St. Valentine was a priest during the early Roman Catholic Empire who secretly married young lovebirds, even though the emperor had outlawed it. Once discovered, he was put to death for performing the illegal ceremonies. His actions turned him into a martyr for love.
How did the grim end of martyred saint turn into a highly commercialized and overall cheesy holiday? Although he died in the name of love, his legacy changed to the celebration of overcompensating on one day of the year to make up for all rest of the loveless days and nights of the year. The product is almost more grim than the history of the holiday itself.
The overcompensation comes in many shapes and forms. “Oh, sorry that I couldn’t make it to your mom’s funeral, but I’m buying dinner!” “I know it was rude of me to call your best friend that, but here’s a necklace!” “I really thought that we were on a break, but I bought you a giant teddy bear!” Essentially, Valentine’s Day has become so commercialized that people no longer see an issue with using objects instead of words to apologize. They are unable to communicate outside of a purely material relationship. And it’s sad.
People will gush about their lover on their social media, explaining to their followers how amazing and caring their partner is. The fact that love has to be so publicized is shameful. Two people will claim to be madly in love, but their relationship is purely so they’ll have something to post about. Someone who will help them bring the followers in. Someone who will be just as fake and cheesy so that they don’t have to show to the world that they’re alone.
And then there’s the problem of being single on Valentine’s Day: the idea that if you’re single on Valentine’s Day, then you must be alone; the idea that single people are losers who will die if they don’t find love. It’s shocking how cruel advertising can be towards single people during the season of love.
If Saint Valentine died in the name of love, then he sure didn’t die for this holiday to be created. The bitterness of drugstore candy isn’t love. A social media post doesn’t prove that love lasts forever. Being single doesn’t mean crippling loneliness and no chance at love. It’s a holiday that is made purely for commercialization and has businesses stabbing knives into every human being, if only for them to get a chance at freedom from loneliness.