Photo: Flickr / Kevin Dooley

Valentine’s Day: Love it or loathe it?

All you need is love

One of the greatest things about being human is the fact that we are aware of and embrace love. We talk about it, write songs about it, share stories about it, cry about it… and the best part is that we even have a significant day when we celebrate love! The mere act of loving is tough. Love is difficult for people; it comes naturally to animals, but people have to work for love. We have to work to get it, and then to keep it, and it’s such a wonderful thing to be in love so why not celebrate it? Why shouldn’t we have a special day where people are reminded of how much love there can be in the world?

Think about it like this: we live in a world of cynicism, anger and fear. Violence is  everywhere, conflict is more common that we’d like, and everyone experiences pain and loneliness. Sometimes the world can seem like a dark and horrible place. But on the fourteenth of February, just one day every year, people have a specific reason to put away whatever negative emotions are in their lives and to simply celebrate love. And Valentine’s Day does NOT have to be just about celebrating romantic love! Valentine’s Day can also be used to celebrate loving yourself, or loving your family and/or friends. It’s a day where people everywhere pull out all the stops for the people that they love. So what if it’s a little commercialised – so is Christmas, but does that stop the Christmas spirit from infecting the winter air?

So fall back in love with love this February 14, and spend time with your loved ones, whoever they may be. (And hey, Valentine’s chocolate is always a good way to go!)

Christine Wong

Worst holiday ever!

Valentine’s Day is categorically the worst holiday ever. There are innumerable reasons – the commerciality, the cost, the pressure, to name but a few. It’s a divisive topic, separating out those who do from those who don’t, branding the latter with either cynicism or lovelessness.

The holiday, like most contemporary holidays, is a distortion of a religious Holy Day. It was first associated with romantic love by our old friend, Geoffrey Chaucer, in the middle ages. Then, in the 19th century, it became fashionable to send anonymous cards, assorted boxes of confectionary, and odorous flowers. This brings us to the present day, with Hallmark having their way with just about every holiday and turning Love into simply another public spectacle.

My issue with Valentine’s is not that I’m single (although that does make it a bitter pill to swallow). My disconcertion rests in that there is the gross misconception that love is measurable in spectacular gestures, that love must be paraded in front of all to be legitimate, and that ultimately love is just another tickable box on your life trajectory.

If Valentine’s Day were a private affair, if it remained between couples and loved ones, then I would have no trouble. That love need be recognised by anyone other than those ‘loving’, through public displays of affection, lavish gifts, and infinite posts on Instagram – it goes to show that Valentine’s Day isn’t so much about displaying your love to someone, as it is about displaying your love to everyone.

Scott Harris

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