The Notion of Valentine’s Day


By Jason Miller

Illustration by Rollin McGrail

Valentine’s Day is an infamous holiday, there is a common consensus on the main narrative surrounding its celebration with it having a lot to do with being money-related for example giving outrageous gifts. Having a vague acknowledgement of its purpose is not necessarily the same as an intrinsic understanding of its purposeful existence. While the holiday is widely celebrated, the background of this tradition is not as familiar, with its origin dating back over a millennium. 

The foundation for what would later be known as Valentine’s Day was established during the third century under the Roman rule. There was a strategic focus on the military for ever growing expansion, and in order to produce ever more effective soldiers it was prohibited to be married in that line of work. This was an instance of suppression against the common people, deterring love. But the saint named Valentine deemed this as unjust and actively worked against such laws, marrying couples in secret. 

The saint Valentine stood for peace and perseverance in the face of adversary for the sake of love, but is that what is being embraced by people in current times ? In my youth, the mention of Valentine’s Day was oftentimes associated with flowers and showing one’s affection for another with materialistic things. At the time the deeper conceptualization of said holiday was beyond my comprehension, with an additional lack of interest. In the past my focus would be on expensive gestures. But with this newfound appreciation for what the holiday truly stands for, this allows me to establish a new dynamic with my special someone. 

     With the mention of Valentine’s Day gifts, during my time in school there would always be a service of flowers for purchase as a gift on the holiday with students forming crowds surrounding these vendings. When perceiving the holiday there is such a heavy focus on the financial and material aspects that the main lesson being preached of being genuine to yourself and your loved one with spending time together is overshadowed. Nothing in life should ever be taken for granted and Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to spend time with your significant other, just relaxing doing the hobbies that are interesting to oneself, with time being the most valuable resource not money. 

 There can be lots of pressure to be flashy for the day of love as I have on occasion given in myself. However, here are some prime examples of meaningful gestures for this Valentine’s Day. 

  1. Pictures. Whether its a video montage showing the highlights of your time together or even if it’s your favorite moment captured in a frame either will show a level of care and authenticity more than money could buy 
  2. Dinner. While prices are skyrocketing due to inflation, cooking at home, whether simple or elaborate, illustrates an immense amount of love through the process of a home cooked meal. Taking the time to actually go through that process means more at the end of the day. 
  3. Games. While a unique choice for the day of love, it is another chance to bond and ask about what has been going on with them recently with communication being key to any healthy relationship. 
  4. Movies. Any streaming platform such as Netflix, Hulu, etc have a variety of options to choose from and if you don’t have access to such things, old fashioned DVDs work just as well. And one’s favorite movie always is something to be grateful for on the day of love.

       As can be seen with the history behind Valentine’s Day, there is a focus on being authentic to oneself and persevering through hardships with it being an inspiring message. Those who are not involved in any romantic relations can still participate in the holiday celebration since its foundation is based upon the human spirit and discounted candy after the fact is always a plus.


Jason Miller is currently a student at Wellington Community High School with his education being based upon his experiences with the debate program consisting of 5 years experience and he is focused on college level AICE courses, the majority of his classes.