What’s the real meaning of Valentine’s Day?

Ellen Fitzpatrick

St. Valentine’s day used to be a day to celebrate the patron saint of love, but there is no doubt that it has transformed into a commercial holiday that only gives people an excuse to go out for a fancy meal.

It’s that time of year again where half the population are all loved up and planning their big Valentine’s date and the rest of us are sitting all alone giving chocolates to ourselves. Traditionally, Valentine’s day was a Christian festival celebrating the coming of spring and the pairing of men and women. By the 14th century it became known as Valentine’s day after a priest signed a letter “from your Valentine” to a loved one and the trend caught on. But is this really what it’s still all about, a day to show love?

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that people let their loved ones know how they feel, but Valentine’s day has undoubtedly been taken advantage of by huge commercial organisations in order for them to sell pointless goods just because there’s a heart printed on it. The average American spends $512 on gifts for Valentine’s day, according to Fortune Magazine. This is an absurd amount of money to be spending on a ‘holiday’ that you don’t even get the day off work for. Greeting card companies alone made between $7 billion and $8 billion in 2016 according to Time magazine.

To be completely honest, the commercial aspect of Valentine’s day is only one of its problems. If we looking logically into it, why is there a designated day to show your loved ones how you feel: shouldn’t you be doing that every day? It’s like Mother’s and Father’s Day too. Shouldn’t we be appreciating these people in our lives every day of the year and not just the one specific day just because we can write it in a pretty card and buy some flowers?

On the other hand, it’s understandable why some people go nuts for Valentine’s day. It’s a day to spend with someone special to you and it gives you an excuse to be pampered in lovey dovey gifts and spoil someone else with the same thing. It can be a lot of fun and excitement. This isn’t suited to some people (including yours truly), which is fine too. 58.6% of 18-24-year olds are likely to go all out for the holiday, with 56.3% being female and 53.1% being male, again referring to Fortune Magazine. So, it really goes to show that it’s one of those things you either love or hate. There’s no in between.


Ellen Fitzpatrick

Image Credit: Photo by Clem Onojeghuo