The holiday blues – or in this case holiday reds – aren’t over yet. There is a distinct separation between romance and love that society quite often tends to ignore in the hype of the Valentine’s holiday. While many hope for love, romance is a lot easier to create.
Originally, in ancient Rome, Feb. 14 was a holiday to honor Juno – goddess of women and marriage. Under the rule of Emperor Claudius II, Rome was involved in many bloody and unpopular campaigns. As a result, Claudius the Cruel was having a difficult time getting soldiers to join his military leagues.
Believing low recruitment was the result of Roman men who did not want to leave their wives or families, Claudius canceled all marriages and engagements in Rome. Saint Valentine, a priest in Rome in the days of Claudius II, viewed the decree unjust. Along with aiding Christian martyrs, Valentine began to secretly marry couples. For his kind deed, Valentine was apprehended and dragged before the Prefect of Rome, who condemned him to be beaten to death with clubs and to have his head cut off. He suffered martyrdom on the 14th day of February, around the year 270.
It seems that in many ways society has ventured from the original celebration of Valentine’s Day. A day originally dedicated to honor the power of love and the sacrifices one man made for the better of the community and family, Valentine’s Day presently celebrates a definition of love that automatically entails romance.
The media loves to tell viewers and consumers how love should look, feel and act. Love looks glamorous. Love feels incredible. And most importantly, love is best when accompanied by a fully loaded wallet. It is no wonder that many – couples and singles alike – are disappointed by a holiday that depends on such an easily manipulated characterization of love.
Realistically, Valentine’s Day is more likely to find individuals depressed, lonely or believing that they are missing out on a vital part of enjoying not only the holiday but also life itself. Like so many other precious moments in life, the media has managed to quixotically portray a delicate and vulnerable emotion and commitment in any woman or man’s life.
While the media may veil romance with the misleading face of love, it must be remembered that love cannot be forced. Ironically enough, innate in the definition of love is the time it takes to appreciate someone. While expensive presents may make for a romantic evening, it is all too predictable that the same presents will be forgotten next year.
However, any human being is likely to subconsciously hope that perhaps this Valentine’s Day they will spend a night of romance comparable to that of Hollywood romance movies. A fancy candlelit dinner, a poem likening the charms of Shakespeare himself, and warm and delicate kisses topping the night off, all of which creating a memory not easily erased in the heart and mind of any individual.
But such memories are dangerous to create so lightly. In the Bible, 1 Corinthians 13:4 states “love is patient.” While in this world it’s hard to be patient for anything let alone love, why rush every year to create a memorable Valentine’s with someone you may not even intend to be with the next year? While seemingly pessimistic, this statement poses a very realistic and difficult question to couples and singles who in some way celebrate this holiday.
The challenge is to make an individual change how society largely views the holiday of Valentine’s Day. We love our parents, our siblings and our friends. Heck, we even love the great city of Philadelphia. No way around it: everyone has someone or something they care about. Don’t let this holiday slip away without letting loved ones know that they are appreciated.
Reach out. There are a lot of lonely people out there. Buy a bouquet of flowers with no intention of whom you may give them to. Guys – write a card to your mom. Girls – do something for that special girlfriend or guy friend you couldn’t do without.
Create a holiday celebrating love in its truest sense – intense affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties. Even though love is patient, it doesn’t mean to sit back and let it come to you. On the contrary, go out with family and friends and enjoy loving relationships that have already been in the making. And who knows, maybe on that journey one will indeed meet his princess or her knight in shining armor.
Breanna Tannous can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.