By Brielle Bryan
Are you stressed out about Valentine’s Day? Feeling lonely because all you have is your dog and “The Notebook” to get you through those 24 endless hours? Feeling nervous that your significant other will not be happy with what you have planned? Feeling sad and undervalued because someone special forgot to make plans with you?
I’m here to tell you to stop being upset, because the meaning behind Valentine’s Day is far greater than a box of chocolates and a bouquet of roses.
The name “Valentine” is believed to be derived from a saint who was murdered. He was believed to be either a priest who performed marriages in secret or a man who was killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons during the reign of Emperor Claudius II, according to HISTORY.com.
Either way, he became an infamous martyr who has been celebrated ever since he was killed.
Lupercalia, a fertility festival celebrated by the ancient Romans, was originally held in the middle of February. During this feast, the women of the village would actually line up for men to beat them with goat hides because they believed it would make them fertile. In an effort to “Christianize” the Pagan celebration, Valentine’s Day was believed to be held on the same day as Lupercalia, according to HISTORY.com.
Basically, Valentine’s Day originated with the celebration of a man’s death, and naked men beating women to get them pregnant.
Thousands of years later, we have evolved. Valentine’s Day has turned into an excuse for couples to stress out, single people to feel lonely and for Hallmark to make copious amounts of money.
According to the National Retail Federation, each American spent an average of $146.84 on Valentine’s Day in 2016, with total sales reaching about $19.7 billion, Mic Daily reported.
While Valentine’s Day has been commercialized and made into a day that entices couples to splurge, the true meaning of Valentine’s Day — showing everyone how much you value the ability to love — has little to do with spending money.
Love, however, is a word that has been used so interchangeably that its actual meaning has been twisted and confused.
You probably describe love as how you feel about someone romantically. You also probably refer to love when you speak with your parents and close friends. You might have even gushed to a friend that you loved the pizza you ate for dinner last night, or that you loved that song that played on your car’s radio.
Love can be used in so many contexts, but each use has the same fundamental meaning.
Love is unconditional, unselfish and unyielding. Love isn’t a chemical reaction, or a feeling. Love isn’t simply a physical or emotional connection. Love isn’t black and white.
Love is something that is unexplainable, and is as mysterious to us as what happens in the afterlife. As confusing as love can be, when it’s real, you just know.
Love is a mother looking into her newborn baby’s eyes. Love is the sun warming your face in the middle of a cool winter season. Love is the space between sentences, the wind carrying a bird’s wings and the rain that ends a long drought.
Love is something that lifts you up. Love is being at peace, with yourself and with the world.
So, make Valentine’s Day about the gift of love. Make it a day to appreciate all of the little things, and all of the people surrounding you.
You have the power to control the way you celebrate the holiday. Don’t spend your time stressing out about the perfect date or the perfect movie to watch by yourself. Besides, the origins of Valentine’s Day weren’t even based on dating, so you wouldn’t be doing any of its founders an injustice if you spent it the right way — celebrating your ability to love.