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Why it's okay to be sad on Valentine's Day

Web Editor

Published: Friday, February 14, 2014

Updated: Friday, February 14, 2014 15:02

here exist certain days on our calendar that all Americans, at least, celebrate for inherent and understood reasons. They are shaped both by their origin and the celebration in practice. The intrinsic meaning of the holiday should be practiced every day, but holidays force us to set aside time to dedicate to these worth while values.

In recent years, corporations and other businesses have appropriately sought the attention of the public for their own profit and have, in exchange, been attacked by critics of the holiday’s commercialization. Because of our busy lives these corporations serve not only as an outlet for purchasing the holiday-specific necessities, but also an unconscious and needed reminder of the meaning of the day.

New Year’s Day is criticized for the Times Square extravagant displays, and the rush to firework stands and liquor stores. But the day also serves as a communal cue to start another 365-day cycle. It’s a day of hope and new beginnings. It’s the start of our resolutions that – although more often than not fail – are a genuine effort to make one’s self better, and renew relationships with a kiss at midnight.

That’s why it’s okay to be sad to be single or altogether alone on that day. There’s no excitement or rekindling romance when the rest of the world is exuberant – and drunkenly – sounding theirs off.

The Fourth of July – the birth of America – is the target of similar critics that say marketing companies can sell another flag or another firework. Although these markets exist, we all should be proud of what our country stands for. That one day of the year we get to set everything aside and be Americans, from north to south we are generally all happy to be in the same country at the same time.

That’s why it’s okay to be sad to work or get left out of the national birthday party. It puts a damper on the entire meaning and can leave them as perpetual killjoys.

Thanksgiving is much more than the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, football and eating until the second button pops off your shirt. It’s a way to be thankful to live in a bountiful land full of both nourishment and opportunity. We’re forced to sit together as a family and enjoy each other’s presence for at least a day.

That’s why it’s okay to be sad to have no family or live in a destitute household – Lady Liberty’s poor, tired, huddled masses. Although not having large banquets isn’t new to them, it’s a reminder of how much they don’t have. This is why it’s important to donate to those less fortunate – similar to the next holiday.

Christmas is a giant among holidays in terms of disapproval by nay-sayers. They say Black Friday, Cyber Monday and other corporate sale days are the definition of Christmas, or that it’s about a religion they don’t believe in. But Christmas at the heart is the season of giving. It’s when we should set our greed aside to give to someone more than you give to yourself every day.

To those who say we should give every day I say that I agree and I would give up every Christmas from here on out if we all stop to help the less fortunate on a constant basis. That’s why the parents who can’t afford to get their kids presents and the giftless children have a right to be sad. It’s a reminder that they can’t do.

But the king of criticism is Valentine’s Day. Its origin may be a mix of history and business marketing, but its practice means more. We don’t buy chocolates and flowers for just anyone. We buy them to remind the person we care about that we love them. Valentine’s Day is a national celebration of relationships and love.

To say the only way to show this is by buying gifts and fancy dinners is a narrow-minded view of a day full of promise. It’s the social celebration of loving another person on one day. Gifts come from the heart and, while they could be bought, could be much more like writing special poems, proposals (although cliché) or just taking a day off work to see the significant other.

That’s why it’s okay for the single to be sad on Valentine’s Day. It’s a reminder that they aren’t in a relationship and don’t have someone to go home to. That may be harsh to read for the single, but it’s true. Those that say it’s a stupid holiday and that we should show love every day miss the point.

Valentine’s Day is a way of saying “I love you” all over again. What’s so bad about setting aside another day to do that? What’s the alternative – not being loving at all?

To recap: New Year’s Day = hope. Fourth of July = patriotism. Thanksgiving = thankful for possessions, family and opportunity. Christmas = giving. Valentine’s Day = love. We celebrate these values all for different reasons and there are many different ways to show them. To say that it’s a bad holiday because companies are involved or others can’t participate is to say the celebration of the value is also a bad idea.

These reminders won’t go away. They serve those who have with a mix of hope, optimism, faith, happiness and the spirit of giving whether they choose to act on those feelings or not. To those who have not, it’s both a bad feeling but also a push forward and reminder that they want more. Again, what they do with those feelings are up to them.

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