Flowers are a staple gift given on Valentine’s Day to show a significant other love. History.com reports that at least 23% of adults buy flowers on the holiday, the majority of which being men. According to the Fiscal Times, $1.9 billion will be spent on flowers each year. (Provided/ Pixbay.com).
In the midst of everything happening in the world today — between the Dakota Access Pipeline, the new President of the United States, the rising rates of hate crime and the corresponding protests to these things — there is something else that still needs to be discussed.
To put it quite honestly, whoever you are and wherever you come from; this relates back to you in the purest form.
Now bear with me, I promise you this isn’t going where you think it is.
Before I get into it, let’s start with a little history about the holiday itself. There are many theories about where Valentine’s Day stems from, some more popular than others.
One of these legends began in Ancient Rome with a fertility festival called Lupercalia, which was typically celebrated in a time that we now know as mid-February. In short, the festival included sacrifice to the builders of Rome to ensure fertility of women and crops for the coming spring and summer.
If you skip ahead to 200-300 A.D., there were multiple Christian martyrs named Valentine. Due to their acts of love and compassion for others, these men were deemed saints in the Catholic church. Then in the late 400s, Pope Gelasius named Feb. 14 as a day to honor Saint Valentine.
It wasn’t until the 1300s that Saint Valentine’s Day began to be associated with the idea of love and romance. With the ball rolling, Europe began the tradition of valentine exchange in the 1600s and the United States began to mass-produce and sell valentines in the 1840s.
So alas, what began as a reminder of the compassionate actions of a saint quickly became a commercial holiday.
According to History.com, 62 percent of adults polled said they celebrate Valentine’s Day. The average amounts an individual spends on those they love ranges anywhere from $70-150, all for one day.
Time.com reports that this year’s spending is expected to amount to roughly $19.7 billion. History.com projects that this is $448 million spent on candy, 58 million pounds of chocolate, 36 million chocolate boxes shaped like hearts and 150 million Valentine’s Day cards.
Now, think about this in perspective. $19.7 billion dollars can do quite a few different things.
Research Maniacs said that it could buy roughly 98,500 homes at $200,00 per house or give every single person in Canada almost $550 each. In addition, it could fund over half of the $30 billion that the United Nations estimates it would take to solve the crisis of world hunger for one year.
This basically means that pouring the Valentine’s Day budget alone into world hunger each year could easily lessen the problem.
Let’s bring this closer to home and talk about the average $150 that most people spend each year. In regard to the economy in its current state, $150 may not seem like much. In fact, a good pair of shoes cost about that these days, but when it comes to showing someone you care, a price doesn’t always necessarily have to be named.
When we remember why Valentine’s Day was originally created, we also have to remember that it was never about the money in the first place. It was never about the candy or the cards or the flowers. It began as one person carrying out acts of love each and every day of their life, and loving one another equally and unconditionally.
So why have we let one day be the definition of showing up and giving presents to our loved ones to let them know we care?
Why is it that this one day is singularly a symbol of love and acceptance, when the original celebration was to honor someone who spent every day symbolizing these same things? Why do we draw the line at 24 hours and overpriced candy hearts?
So, to get to the point, here’s my idea:
Yep. I said it. Don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day.
Instead, let’s revert to celebrating Saint Valentine and everything he stood for.
Take that $150 and stretch it out over the next year and show those you love how you feel every single day. Love exists 365 days a year, not just one. So let it exist.
Instead of showing up and giving presents, show up and be present.
There’s a reason that quality time falls under one of the five Love Languages, and while receiving gifts is one as well, this doesn’t make quality time any less important. In perspective, being with those you love will make more of a difference than a box of chocolates and in today’s world, where hate and intolerance are constantly becoming more prominent, spreading that love every single day couldn’t be more important.
So it’s your move — and Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching.
I’m asking you to choose love when it comes; I’m urging you to choose it every other day, too, and hoping you make each of them about heart, not money, every time.