Gentleman's Philosophy

Valentine’s Day: Romantic, or Sham?

Afternoon gents, it’s Max from The Young Gentleman’s Guide here! So, as pretty much all of us in the western world are aware, Valentine’s Day is coming up next month. Lovers are likely getting ready to spend a romantic night together, those who are single are preparing to lament the day by eating mounds of discount chocolate and watching romantic movies, and the majority of us will likely just treat it like any other day of the week. However, in the spirit of the holiday, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about a topic that has been more on the rise over the years. Is Valentine’s Day truly the magical day full or rainbows, roses, and romance like it’s built up to be, or is it just a sham invented by Hallmark and department stores so they can just sell greeting cards and discount candy? The answer that I’ve come to may surprise you.

To start off, it’s important to note that despite the commercialization and corporatization of Valentine’s Day today, the day does have roots in history, though said roots are difficult to pinpoint. Most experts believe that the celebration of love and fertility that defines the 14th of February dates back to 3rd-century Rome, where persecution of Christians was commonplace. According to medieval legends, Roman Emperor Claudius Gothicus believed that soldiers in his army who were single were better equipped to fight than those who had wives and families. As a result of this belief, he forbade his soldiers from getting married. To circumvent this, Saint Valentine is said to have performed marriage ceremonies for a number of Roman soldiers in secret, or according to other versions of the legend, pass notes between Christian lovers imprisoned by Emperor Claudius. Despite the dodgy accuracy and validity of these legends, it has been historically documented that there were actually multiple Saint Valentines who did in fact die on February 14th, but only two received the treatment that most people are familiar with; that being they were beheaded by order of Emperor Claudius. While the historical validity of the miracles and actions has certainly been brought into question, medieval Christians took these legends of secret wedding ceremonies, note-passing, and even curing a young girl of blindness, and ran with them, using the date of Valentine’s execution, as well as its correspondence with certain Pagan celebrations of love and fertility, as the basis of the holiday of love and friendship as we know it today.

With the increase of claims that Valentine’s Day is like Christmas, in that it’s a “corporate invention” or a “commercialized sham”, whether or not V-Day is truly meant to be this beautiful celebration of romance has certainly become a big talking point. In all honesty, I can see where a lot this criticism comes from. All these companies saying that you should be celebrating love in your life, whether it’s with your family or a significant other, when should arguably be doing that every day certainly seems like a forced message used as a front to just buy greeting cards and candy. That being said, I also don’t see anything wrong with taking a certain day to express your love more so than most other days. Married couples do it on their wedding anniversaries, families do it on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and if they want to the same thing on Valentine’s Day, then I don’t see anything wrong with that. Plus, since when has spending money on someone a bad thing? I understand that it shouldn’t be absolutely necessary to do so, but at the same time, spending money to get something nice for someone you love, whether it costs a million dollars if you’re rich or just one dollar if you’re poor, is just another way to show that you love and care about them.

So what exactly am I saying here? I think at the end of the day, whether Valentine’s Day is a corporate sham or not really shouldn’t matter. If you and your wife, girlfriend, or anyone in your family want to use it as a day to do something special and celebrate your love, then by all means, go ahead. If you just want to treat it like any other day and you are able to celebrate the love you have in your life every single day, then that’s fine too. What matters is that it’s your decision, and you made that decision on your own.

Apologies to anyone who was expecting a definite answer to this question, but at the end of the day, everyone has a right to make their own decisions, and Valentine’s Day seemed like an appropriate topic to discuss. So whatever any of you young gents are doing for Valentine’s Day, enjoy yourself, stay safe, and make the most of it. In any case, I hope you enjoyed reading today’s article. Please be sure to share the article, follow the blog, follow The Young Gentleman’s Guide on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, and support us on Patreon. And on that note, this is Max from The Young Gentleman’s Guide, and I’ll see you next time!

Sources:

https://www.history.com/topics/valentines-day/history-of-valentines-day-2

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/gory-origins-valentines-day-180968156/

 

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