Admittedly, it is special to spend Valentine’s Day with a significant other, but spending it as a single person can be just as meaningful. The history behind the holiday extends far beyond today’s traditions of conversation hearts, boxes of chocolates and red roses.
In elementary school, children cover shoe boxes with pink, white and red construction paper and create mailboxes for their “valentines,” which are later filled with goodies and sweets from their classmates. This tradition, however, is much deeper than it is thought to be.
St. Valentine was a Catholic priest who is thought to have previously worked as a doctor. He was infamously known for marrying people who were in love but unable to legally marry. When the emperor, Claudius, found out about these illegal acts, he imprisoned Valentine. Valentine is most famous for having a connection with his jailer, who asked Valentine to help his daughter.
The jailer’s daughter was blind and needed help reading material for her studies. Before Valentine was killed, he left the girl a message encouraging her to stay close to Christ and thanked her for being his friend. After receiving her “valentine,” it is said that the jailer’s daughter was cured of her blindness – an act of kindness that Valentine left for her.
Although St. Valentine is the patron saint of love, engagements and marriages, the history behind his feast day is inspired by not only love but also kindness. St. Valentine was a deeply caring individual, but was not in love himself, so why is the holiday primarily aimed at those in relationships?
Valentine’s Day does not have to be the stereotypical, materialistic and sappy holiday that everyone believes it to be. There is a much more positive, beautiful meaning to the holiday. Instead, it can be a day full of self-love and appreciating the non-romantic connections in our lives.
Being in a relationship, although it might be fun, is not a necessary part of the holiday. Most people in college are still growing and learning to love themselves, let alone a whole other human being. So, don’t feel discouraged if you’re spending the day alone.
As cheesy as it sounds, I like to spend the day surrounded by my friends and celebrate “Galentine’s” Day. “Galentine’s Day” originated from the popular TV show "Parks and Recreation." On the show, the female characters celebrate Valentine’s Day by eating waffles and indulging in excessive gift-giving regardless of their relationship statuses.
Whether spending the holiday in a relationship, with friends or by yourself, Valentine’s Day should be a day focused on the same kindness that St. Valentine showed throughout his life. Acts of kindness such as holding the door, saying “good morning” or grabbing dinner with some friends are acts that make the holiday worth celebrating.
So this Valentine’s Day, instead of scoffing at couples on romantic ventures, recognize the small acts of kindness that the holiday is actually about.
Abby Waechter is a freshman studying strategic communications at Ohio University. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Have something to say? Email Abby at email@example.com or tweet her @AbbyWaechter.
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