Feb 112009
Authors: Phoenix MourningStar

This weekend hosts one of the most dreaded holidays for every spinster and the mother of all corporate holidays: Valentine’s Day. I wager it’s one of the top boycotted holidays in America, second only to Boss’ Day (Oct. 16).

It wasn’t far past New Year’s Day that I began seeing red hearts and candies flooding the seasonal section of grocery stores and convenience stores. What a bunch of crap.

It’s not like there’s really any reason to celebrate a holiday that can arguably be compared to a capitalistic tax on “love.”

The idea of being obligated to buy candies, flowers and cards seems precisely the downfall of this otherwise well planned money making scheme. Birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas and Kwanza are one thing — but, come on now.

A recent biased poll I conducted from a sample of people who agree with me did reveal there are a number of highly viable reasons to be anti-Feb. 14.

Here are some of the better complaints: 1) We don’t get off from school/work so it’s not a real holiday, 2) If you have to rely on a dictated holiday to show affection toward your partner, you should find someone else, 3) Valentine’s Day is only legit if you have someone to share it with, 4) Why aren’t there any single’s holidays (other than happy hour and every trip to Vegas) and finally, 5) It’s just dumb and contrived.

To be fair, some pro-Valentine’s Day points were also made: 1) If people can’t get along, they can at least get it on, 2) It’s a nicely scheduled candy refill point in the year, and (3) For some people it’s a yearly opportunity to ensure at least one romantic day because it’s consistent — not like anniversaries for dating couples, which can be confusing.

However, there are a vast number of people who do celebrate the date, or are in a “situation” requiring that they recognize it.

To them I say: Make a plan buddy; Get it done. You don’t need me to tell you about the potential pitfalls of failing to properly gauge the significance of Valentine’s Day — or maybe you do, but you probably shouldn’t.

The thing is, whichever side of the fence you find yourself on, I think most tales describing the origins of Valentine’s Day are the musings of Lifetime movies, but the one that best explains the contradictory nature of the holiday is of St. Valentine’s incarceration.

One story describes him as persecuted priest. The Roman Emperor Claudius was trying to build an army and so passed a law banning weddings under the thought that single men would be more willing to join.

Valentine was imprisoned and sentenced to death for providing illegal wedding services. Claudius tried to convert Valentine in an attempt to save his life. Valentine refused and was executed.

Before his execution, he is said to have fallen in love with and performed a miracle by healing the blind daughter of his jailer. On the evening before he was beheaded, the first “valentine” was written to the jailer’s daughter. It read: “From your Valentine.”

Supposing the tale of St. Valentine is true, that’s a pretty bittersweet story both for and against the holiday.

Maybe after the rigors of capitalism and corporatization there can still be a little something real left over? Probably not, but, for the time being, Valentine’s Day is here and is what it is.

Phoenix Mourning-Star is an environmental health graduate student. His column appears Thursdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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