10 Reasons Why Valentine’s Day Is Awesome And You Should Celebrate It
Despite my consistent general mood of cynicism and constant mild frustration with humanity, I happen to be a person who’s enthusiastic about all holidays, even the “Hallmark” holidays. Which means that I love Valentine’s Day, and now that it’s just around the corner, I’m going to try to make an argument for why you should get into the spirit, too.
1. All holidays are made-up and exploited by greeting card companies and department stores to make a profit to some extent. Take, for example, the fact that historians know that Christmas was deliberately placed in December in order to replace the pagan Yule holiday (and also, pagan traditions like using trees as decoration were assimilated into Christmas traditions) in a successful Christian attempt to convert pagans. Scholars think that Jesus was actually born in what would have been July or March. Historically, New Year’s has taken place in March, December, and January — it wasn’t until 1752 that Americans adopted January 1 as the start of the new year. Valentine’s Day, at least, has some historical precedent — February has been a month of romantic and fertility celebrations in pagan traditions for millennia, and, like Christmas, the date was co-opted by Christians to mark the death of St. Valentine. It became popularized as a romantic holiday in the Middle Ages, because people believed that February 14 was the day that birds started mating. So there you go — Valentine’s Day isn’t a “made-up” holiday, and if you celebrate other holidays, you have no reason to be a humbug about Valentine’s Day.
2. Pink is awesome. Can we get some love for one of the most maligned colors in the spectrum? What other holiday specifically demands that you pink-wash your homes and places of work? Pink is a soothing color for short periods of time; let’s all just bathe in our nice Valentine’s sea of pink and pink away our seasonal affective disorder for the next two weeks.
3. Making cards is awesome. Especially for crafty people! How long has it been since last time you made a heart out of construction paper? I bet the answer is “Far too long.”
4. Giving people gifts is awesome. And the great thing about Valentine’s Day is that those gifts don’t have to be a big financial commitment. Books are a great option; photographs work; a gift card to a spa is fine. And Valentine’s Day is the holiday where it really is the thought that counts — writing a poem for someone, even if it’s not very good, will make them feel loved and attended to.
5. Chocolate is awesome. Granted, chocolate is a mainstay of Easter and Halloween as well, but Valentine’s Day is the time of year when we have an excuse to indulge in buying good chocolate.
6. Wine is awesome. Even cheap wine! I’m sorry, is anyone legitimately bummed out about having an excuse to go to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s to pick up a few bottles of decent-tasting $5 wine, telling the clerk, “Oh, you know, Valentine’s Day is coming up”? No. No one is bummed out about that.
7. Sex is awesome. I’m going to refute the idea that Valentine’s Day is only about sexual or romantic love in a second, but if you have a sexual and/or romantic partner, what isn’t awesome about setting aside a particular day to eat chocolate and drink wine and have sex with them? What isn’t great about having a day to be unabashedly in love and/or lust and be as dopey/flirty/sexy on the outside as you feel on the inside with that person and have it be socially acceptable?
8. Expressing love of any kind is awesome. Sure, Valentine’s Day as we know it may have started out as a holiday commemorating bird mating as a metaphor for human-mating, but that was in the Middle Ages. It’s the twenty-first century, and now we know both that February 14 isn’t Bird Orgy Day and that all kinds of love are equally important. It’s an opportunity to tell people you love that you love them, however that love looks or feels. It feels good to be told that you’re valued. Even if you’re not comfortable with the word “love,” just saying “Hey friend, you did [xyz things] for me, and I just want you to know how much I appreciated that” can go a long way for your relationships.
9. Really great meals are awesome. I know Valentine’s reservations can be a nightmare, but sharing really great food with someone whose company you truly enjoy is such an amazing bonding experience. Eating with people we love is such a deeply-ingrained human pleasure that it shows up as a ritual in pretty much every religion and culture (communion, Seder, various festivals, etc.). For Valentine’s Day, you can skip the dinner reservations and have lunch with your friends, cook with your partner, brunch with your parents. And again, who can get bummed out about any of that?
10. Any holiday that you’re not absolutely required to spend with your whole family is awesome. Well past all the lovey-dovey idealistic stuff, everyone knows that managing interacting with your whole family over the end-of-year holidays can be a giant pain in the neck. On Valentine’s Day, you get to choose who you spend your time with, and generally you can expect to spend that time one-on-one with someone you really, really enjoy being around. How boss is that? Who wouldn’t want to celebrate that holiday?
So don’t pooh-pooh Valentine’s Day this year! You don’t have to get a date; you can spend it with anyone you like a lot, drink some wine, eat some good food, nom on some chocolate, and have a nice, chill, pleasant day to bask in the love you share with your friends and family.
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