From the Editor: Valentine's Day can be for all relationships, not just romantic ones

Celebrate friendships and family on Valentine's Day too. (Kristen Frier)

Celebrate friendships and family on Valentine’s Day too. (Kristen Frier)

Throughout elementary school, almost every year my teacher would give us the chance to hand out Valentine’s Day cards and candies to friends and classmates. I remember some years making cards in class covered in red and pink glitter, and other years my parent’s buying Powerpuff Girls themed ones to give out at school the next day. 

I would give my cards to every single student in my class and I remember feeling happy showing my appreciation for them, even if they were just a classmate. While it was just a small gesture, people were smiling and having fun. 

Valentine’s Day has always been associated as a special day to celebrate love, but it is usually focused on romantic relationships when it should be focused on all relationships in our life. 

Valentine’s Day is celebrated on Feb. 14 across the world where partners exchange gifts like candy, chocolate, flowers, or a night out to show their love for one another. 

However, there are many different theories about the origins of the holiday and why it was created. Valentine’s Day dates back to 270 A.D. named after Saint Valentine and has mixed Christian and ancient Roman roots. 

One legend says that Valentine was a priest during the third century in Rome and helped perform marriages in secret since it was outlawed at the time because “single men made better soldiers.” He was later beheaded for his actions, which is estimated to be on Feb. 14. 

Another legend suggests the first Valentine was sent by Valentine himself as a prisoner. Before his death, he wrote a letter to a young woman signed “From your Valentine,” which is still used today. Others say the holiday started as a Pagan Festival in February. Priests would sacrifice a goat for fertility and a dog for purification, dip the goat’s skin into blood, and slap women and crop fields with it in hopes to increase fertility for the rest of the year. 

Valentine’s stories started to resurface and by the Middle Ages, he became one of the most popular saints in England and France and into the holiday we know today. 

While the history of Valentine’s Day is different than what it is today, the saint’s stories still carry the message of love and selflessness for romantic relationships, but also for people he didn’t know. 

There are so many different relationships we have in our everyday lives such as friends, parents, and ourselves and each is important in their own way. Our society often focuses too much on having a romantic relationship through movies, TV shows, and books that we sometimes forget about the other relationships we have. It’s important to celebrate all the relationships we have everyday. 

Spending time with family and friends is important not only to have fun and laugh, but for your own wellbeing. It can help reduce stress, possibly lengthen your life, and improve your mental health. Valentine’s Day can also be a day to practice self-love through buying yourself chocolates, reading a book, or playing your favourite video game. 

The celebration can also put a lot of stress and feelings of loneliness on people. “Pressure Points,” a study by dating app Plenty of Fish in 2019, said 43 per cent of single adults consider Valentine’s Day to be the “most pressure-filled holiday,” with one in five wishing the holiday was cancelled. 

An online poll was conducted with 2,000 single adults in the United States, ranging from 18 to over 70. Out of the participants, 60 per cent of Generation Z and 52 per cent of Millennials feel more pressure with the holiday compared to older generations on the app. 

In a survey by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), 26 per cent of adults who don’t have a significant other are more likely to feel lonely when thinking about Valentine’s Day than those in a romantic relationship. 

If the focus on Valentine’s Day changed to celebrating the love of all your relationships, people would feel less pressured to be in a romantic relationship, go on a date, and reduce their feelings of loneliness. 

Overall, Valentine’s Day is a great holiday to show love to those you care about. Celebrating all relationships in our life could help improve inclusiveness and change how people view the holiday.