Some of us have probably become cynical when it comes to celebrating Valentine's Day. We think: "We can express our love and be romantic anytime, so why reserve it for just one day?" or "Valentine's Day is a capitalist creation, designed so that people splurge on flowers, chocolates, greeting cards, and swanky dinner dates; hence supporting those businesses that are otherwise idle throughout the year." That’s why some of us can't help asking, "Why does everything, even love, always have to boil down to money?"(Honey, they just do; there's logistics to everything.)
On the other hand, some of us hate that day of hearts. No, it's not because we're single and our feeds are overloaded with couple pics! (This is for another story.) But because some of us have fought our partners about it. You have great expectations on how special it would be, only to be disappointed because your partner doesn't believe in Valentine's Day so he didn’t put in the anticipated effort. So there is pressure on his end, and dread (and maybe anger and other things negative) on yours.
When we put it this way, it does seem like Valentine's Day isn't so romantic anymore. What's the point of celebrating it if the essence seems lost to some of us?
Showing love on Valentine's Day goes as far back as the Middle Ages in Europe. For one, the French and the English believed that birds began their mating season on February 14 and found their mates for life, hence getting the idea that that date was for romance. Another reason was to celebrate the feast of St. Valentine, who is said to have secretly married Christian couples when Christians were being persecuted in Rome, the fact is that people already greeted each other back then and wrote love letters. As we've come to experience today, they have made a tradition out of it over the centuries by giving flowers, exchanging gifts, and spending time with loved ones.
And there is some value to traditions. Even if these can be tedious and impractical, we participate because we want to get something out of them in the end. In the case of Valentine's Day, some of us make our feelings known in hopes of being liked back. We spoil our partners or we spend the day (or the evening) with them doing something out of the ordinary so they can feel extra special. This in turn makes us happy (and kilig) and helps strengthen our relationship with them.
Apart from that, Valentine's Day, as in any traditionally special day (be it a holiday, your birthday, your anniversary), is a break from the ordinariness of our daily lives. It punctuates our rather repetitive and hazy week or month through the promise of something new, different, and romantic (albeit cliché). When the day is celebrated, we have more memories, a profound sense of joy, and unbelievably stronger connections to hold on to. Valentine's Day gives us a time to hit the pause button in our daily grind—or rather, to not think or worry about it for a while—in order to spend quality time unlike any other with the person who matters most to us. In other words, it's an opportunity to do something exceptional to sweep our partners off their feet.
Other people say that every day should be Valentine's Day. They mean that we should celebrate love and express our devotion to our partners every day. I understand where this is coming from in as far as we shouldn’t take our significant others for granted, that we should keep being caring and thoughtful. But how many of us actually do the Valentine's ritual, the whole date planning and surprise crafting, frequently and can sustain it habitually and financially? Some of those Valentine's Day critics don't even do anything extraordinary or celebratory for their partners throughout the whole year, proving the point that every day can't be Valentine's Day for many of us.
It's beautiful to make time, even just a day, to celebrate something like love. But not all of us are romantic and creative enough to plan and execute surprises and special dates on a random day. Realistically speaking, not all of us have the time and money as well. So in the same way the New Year inspires or compels us to list our resolutions when we can technically have a fresh start today, tomorrow, or next week, February 14 gives many of us that push we need to be a little bit (or a lot) sweeter. Sure, we have our anniversaries for that, but on Valentine's Day it feels like the whole world is celebrating that amazing thing we have. The day just bursts with energy, and we can’t help being infected with it.
We have the rest of the year to appreciate the tiny, easily-taken-for-granted-but-significant gestures our partners do, and to also carry them out ourselves. So when that one day comes to do something grand for the one we love, it's good to seize it. If not on the 14th, when?