Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day. Restaurants will be filled with reservations made by happy couples celebrating their relationships and flaunting their love. It is going to be a day filled with love appreciation for significant others, but for those that have no better half, Valentine’s Day can be the most lonely day of the year.
In an era of pocket internet access and performative social media addiction, all of the people spending tomorrow’s holiday by themselves will scroll through Instagram and watch happy couple after happy couple showing off their relationship.
What often goes unnoticed by those not celebrating is the immense pressure surrounding Feb. 14, particularly among the college, “twenty something” demographic.
Because of the ability to connect with everyone you know instantaneously and the addicting quality of doing so, the intimidation of keeping up with one’s peers can be intensely amplified.
It is amplified especially on Valentine’s Day, the one day a year when bragging about one’s love life is heavily encouraged. This new phenomenon of relationship braggarts is certainly a new one, and not at all a part of what Valentine’s Day has been about in past decades.
Valentine’s Day originates from the Roman festival of Lupercalia which celebrates the coming of spring through fertility rituals and the pairing of women to men by lottery.
The holiday then became a Christian feast day honoring St. Valentine, the patron saint of lovers. The day has since evolved into a Hallmark holiday used to boost profits at the expense of the easily manipulated.
If you are celebrating Valentine’s Day with a significant other, then do just that. Do not worry about the price of the gift you receive or the amount of stars next to the name of the restaurant you are eating at. There is no need to show everyone what you were gifted or where you ate dinner. Just be grateful that you are spending the holiday with someone you care about and someone who cares about you; realize that not everyone is so lucky.
Furthermore, Valentine’s Day does not have to celebrated with a romantic partner. It can just as easily and meaningfully be spent with anyone you care deeply about, romantically or friendly.
Valentine’s Day is not the only holiday whose meaning and significance has been skewed over the years.
Thanksgiving, whose origin lies in the problematic colonization of America, is now celebrated as a day of gratitude for what we have and who we share it with, regardless of race or ethnicity.
The Christian origins of Christmas have been transformed into a more secular, pagan holiday circulating around the ideals of generosity and kindness.
Valentine’s Day should be no different. Obviously, we neither auction off women to men through a lottery system anymore, nor do we use the holiday to honor St. Valentine.
Therefore, if you spend Valentine’s Day with close friends that you share a feeling of love between, what is the difference?
So if you are scrolling through Instagram Friday night and find yourself full of envy and overcome by loneliness, try your best to realize that in about 12 hours, everything will go back to normal.
The commercials advertising chocolates and diamonds and chocolate diamonds will disappear and social media will return to the regular posts of politics and dogs acting a fool.
Valentine’s Day is just a tough 24 hours, fueled by marketing schemes and insecurity. Just like any other Friday night, you are probably better off spending it with some friends that you love.