Joris Laarman Lab at the High Museum

Can’t Find Your Valentine? Don’t Fret!

Valentine’s Day has been celebrated for over a millennium. The holiday is often written off as an invention of Hallmark to sell gift cards, which is not unreasonable as they usually sell over 130 million cards for Valentine’s Day. The truth is, it’s a very ancient tradition. Today’s famous Valentine’s Day was created by the Catholic Church to replace a Pagan celebration called Lupercalia or Februa, which is where the month of February got its name. The story of St. Valentine is that he was imprisoned for practicing Christianity and cured the warden’s daughter of her blindness, leaving her a note that read “Your Valentine.” He is the Patron Saint of love and happy marriages. Since the year 496 AD, February 14 is the official day we celebrate Saint Valentine’s martyrdom.

For many, Valentine’s Day is kind of an afterthought of a holiday—it sneaks up on a lot of us, and we find ourselves freaking out about “making it count.” But that doesn’t have to mean spending the day with a partner. Georgia State students, and thousands around the world have given the day a different meaning, other than love-dipped dates with promising partners. Some enjoy spending the day with family, while others get pleasure from forgetting it’s a holiday at all.

“I just see it as a day to love my family,” Rene Reed said. If you don’t have a significant other, this is the perfect day to show the loved ones in your life, like family, how much you love and appreciate them. “Nowadays it’s sitting with my three-year-old,” student Christy Reichenberger said. “My mom was great with holidays. We always used to wake up with baskets of candy and balloons. I’m trying to carry on that tradition with my children.”

It’s still a significant holiday, whether you spend it alone, with your family, or your significant other. Student Josh Horton plans on just taking it easy. “Probably just going to watch Netflix by myself,” he said. “Valentine’s Day is just another day for me,” Heran Mohamed said. You don’t need to rush to find a date or make a big fuss over it, but it’s still a good day to remember. It’s often OK to write it off, honestly. Sometimes, the stress of Valentine’s Day can be worse than allowing to forget yoruself about the holiday. For many, Valentine’s Day can be a painful reminder of recent break-ups or long-lost loves and is a root cause of what we’ve come to know as Valentine’s Day Depression. Oh yes, Valentine’s Day for the Valentine-less can be cruel.

People who freak out over Valentine’s Day and struggle to get a date can come off as over-reachers, and most of the time, just end up stressing themselves out. The best advice to anyone looking for a date on Valentine’s Day is don’t try so hard. You don’t need a partner, and it’s best not to scramble to find somebody who may not even be right for you. And don’t forget, the ones you love should know year-long, not just one day each year that you decide to remember to show them some good ole appreciation.

There is, however, nothing wrong with celebrating Valentine’s Day the old-fashioned way either. “I normally just go out with my boyfriend,” student Shannon Daniels said. “Dinner and a movie.” It’s a good day to deepen the bond you have with your partner. “We usually try to go out somewhere,” Kyle Simms said. “Try to have like a nice dinner and try find some activity we can do together. Then we go home, watch a movie, maybe with a nice glass of wine.” There’s nothing wrong with taking the day just to kick back and relax with your partner. However you choose to celebrate, don’t let societal pressures get to you. At the end of the day, Valentine’s might just be about taking the day to appreciate yourself. Enjoy it the way you choose fit. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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