“For this was on St. Valentine’s Day,
when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.”
—Geoffrey Chaucer, c. 1382
Have you ever heard someone say to you, or perhaps you’ve said it yourself, that a person shouldn’t need a specific day to show their love? That Valentine’s Day is a stupid celebration invented by greeting card companies (whose culture-manipulating powers are apparently rivalled by the likes of the Illuminati and other secret societies) in order to make money? Greeting Card companies have been peddling their mass-produced products, foisting them on the masses, before the invention of the printing press or of capitalism, so vast is their power! Geoffrey Chaucer mentions Valentine’s Day, “For this was on seynt Volantynys day /
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make,” so obviously Hallmark has been exploiting the masses since before English had standardised spelling!
Quite to the contrary of the cynics, the annual celebration of a day devoted to love and romance actually speaks to a very real fact of human nature. The faker pretending to be a romantic will espouse the platitude that he needs no day to be romantic; that he should show his love every day of the year! It sounds convincing, since it has an element of truth to it. Of course we should show our love every day, both in the small things and in the large, romantic gestures. But the person who insists that he’s too romantic for Valentine’s Day is typically the one who doesn’t make any romantic gestures whatsoever. The true Romantic sees Valentine’s Day as yet another opportunity to express his devotion to his wife or girlfriend.
Then there are the rest of us, for whom the scheduled reminders are a necessary and beneficial part of life. Like birthdays and anniversaries, Valentine’s Day prompts us to step outside the ordinary pattern of life and do some extraordinary act of love, appreciation, and devotion to our beloved. We should be thankful every day, but Thanksgiving is still significant as a reminder of our need for daily gratitude. We should be patriotic consistently, not just during the Olympics or in July, but let’s be honest, the flags and fireworks help. Every Mass is a mini-Easter, but that doesn’t mean the actual Easter is less important!
Instead of begrudging Valentine’s Day as a kitschy day of obligation, accept is as the opportunity to reawaken your love, to remind yourself of why you love your beloved in the first place–and then, remind them, too.