A Holiday That Lost its Meaning

Michael de Silva

Candy, cards, flowers, diamonds. This sounds like a Valentine’s Day shopping list. The holiday, although meant to focus on love, now revolves around materialism. Over time, Valentine’s Day has become too commercialized, and it is starting to lose its true meaning.

Starting in childhood, Valentine’s Day exists as a gift-centric holiday for people. In elementary school, children give each other store-bought cards with candy. While every child loves sweets, this is a superficial way of bringing the holiday to youth. At the same time, encouraging deep romantic relationships to children is not the best way to go about things either. Since the tradition that takes place in school gives off the wrong initial impression of the holiday, it would be best if Valentine’s Day could be primarily celebrated as a holiday for teenagers and adults.

For a culture that is so focused on romance (listen to any song from the past decade or so, they are almost all related to love in some way), it is surprising that people seem to now overlook the true meaning of Valentine’s Day. Today, it is recognized as a good excuse to spend money to show the people we care about that we love them, yes, but it has become a tradition that people find to be necessary. According to Cable News Network (CNN), in 2012, $18.6 billion was spent on chocolates, cards, jewelry, and more for Valentine’s Day. This is proof that the holiday has created pressure that not all people can be able to afford spending.

It is more important that people spend time with their loved ones than buy them expensive things on Valentine’s Day. This is not to say that people need to stop buying gifts, but it has undeniably gotten a bit out of hand. Merriam Webster defines love as “strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties.” While a dictionary should not be needed to be able to tell what love truly is, there is no definition that mentions a requirement for spending.

Feb. 14 is a very stressful time for many people across the world. Businesses have ingrained it so deeply in our culture in order to make money. This has led to people feeling the need to have a partner for Valentine’s Day, when it really is not the end of the world to be single. This is not to say that people should stop trying to pursue relationships, but the commercialization of the holiday has led to it becoming something that it is not supposed to be. It should never be a cause for depression just because some companies want to cash in on love.

Valentine’s Day needs to be focused on love, not gifts. Big businesses have made it lose its meaning. People should spend time with their loved ones first and foremost, because that is what the holiday is all about.