Point-Counterpoint: Is Valentine’s Day important?

In 2019 Americans spent $19.6 billion on Valentines Day, according to CNN

The Eternity Rose

In 2019 Americans spent $19.6 billion on Valentine’s Day, according to CNN

As January winds down we, as a country, begin to prepare for a month of deep reds, bright pinks and heart-shaped everything. February has become almost synonymous with Valentine’s Day. The whole month is characterized by chocolate, roses and that dream within a dream, love. But, the holiday is surrounded by a debate about whether the holiday deserves the attention it receives.


Now the question that is laid before us: Is Valentine’s Day as important as people make it out to be?


OWEN PHILLIPS: Valentine’s Day does nothing but perpetuate a materialistic and capitalistic society where our idea of love comes from a box or a card and not the heart or head. If Valentine’s Day meant anything real to anyone, it would be a bank holiday or at least a cause for celebrations beyond buying chocolates and roses.


KAYLEE HART: Valentine’s Day is an important holiday celebrated by couples globally. This means it doesn’t have to be a bank holiday to have importance. It’s solely to celebrate the love that two people have for one another. Plus it doesn’t hurt to treat your partner with gifts to remind them how important they are to you. 


OWEN PHILLIPS: Assigning importance to a holiday is subjective. Valentine’s Day might be important to some people, but people who don’t have a significant other to celebrate with probably don’t celebrate at all. And as far as global celebrations of Valentine’s Day, most countries that still celebrate Valentine’s Day in any notable capacity are or have been predominantly Catholic or Protestant. And even those celebrations have moved away from the religious origins of Valentine’s Day in favor of a more corporatized version. Countries all over the world, Judeo-Christian or otherwise, have celebrations of love that they celebrate without being national holidays, like Semana Dolzor in Argentina, which is in July, more popular than Valentine’s Day there and is not nearly as commercialized.


KAYLEE HART: You don’t always have to have a partner to celebrate your love for others. What about your family and friends? I don’t see any problem with celebrating the love you have for them on Feb. 14th. You can also choose to celebrate and treat yourself on that particular day. Countries like Argentina may have their own love celebrations that aren’t as commercialized, but they still exist. Valentine’s Day’s importance isn’t dependent on whether it’s a holiday or not. There are plenty of celebrations that Americans and people across the world recognize that aren’t public holidays. 


OWEN PHILLIPS: But that doesn’t explain the hyper-commercialized version we have in America. If other countries aren’t covering everything in red and pink hearts for all of February, why do we have to? Even if the damage was contained to just Valentine’s Day or even the week before, it would be different, but we spend two months being overwhelmed by the tacky decor and stuffed animals with chocolate, instead of just keeping it contained. And why must we display our love through material possessions? Why do we need to exchange chocolates, cards and flowers? Aren’t there better ways to display affection?


KAYLEE HART: If the sole purpose of Valentine’s Day is to celebrate the love between two people, then why does it matter if they gift each other items like chocolates and roses? Roses are the favorite flowers of Venus, the Goddess of Love because it stands for strong feelings. This means that the gifts that are given have a hidden message. No, it’s not about the gifts, but it’s nice to gift someone an item now and then to show appreciation. Valentine’s Day is important.


Valentine’s Day began as the feast day for Saint Valentine, the patron saint of plague, marriage and love in the Middle Ages. In fact, it is widely believed that Geoffrey Chaucer was the person to celebrate Valentine’s Day as a day of celebration of courtly love. The Duke of Orleans is believed to have sent the first valentine while imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415. Over the years, traditions have changed, our perception of religion and of love has varied vastly from that of Chaucer’s day, but Valentine’s Day is ultimately as important as the individual makes it. It has always meant different things to different people, and that is no change from the modern-day.