OPINION: Valentine’s Day – day of love, or corporate scheme?

Put the conversation hearts away: let’s talk Valentine’s Day



Is Valentine’s Day just a gigantic marketing scam created by greeting card companies to make money? Or is it a holiday actually worth celebrating?

MIA PUZZO, Evergreen columnist

Valentine’s Day is a day that is supposed to celebrate love and appreciation. 

However, this day of love seems to be one of the most disputed holidays in America. People cannot agree whether this day is a scam created by greeting card companies or a harmless day of fun. 

Going into this column, I realized that I was uneducated about the origins of the holiday – what I found was not all sunshine and rainbows. 

Valentine’s Day is a bit of a mystery, and it is not exactly known how it became a holiday. However, it is believed that ancient Romans may be responsible for creating this day of love. 

There are a few theories as to how this day began. One theory suggests that ancient Roman Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives, so he decided to outlaw marriage for young men. A man named Valentine saw the injustice of this and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret.

Another legend suggests that Valentine might have been killed for helping Christians escape torture in horrible Roman prisons.

Either way, Emperor Claudius II executed two men named Valentine on Feb. 14, and their martyrdom was honored by the Catholic Church

After reading about the history of Valentine’s Day, my perspective has changed. 

When I was young, I never gave much thought to this holiday; it was a fun day to hang out with my friends. As I got older, there seemed to be this stigma around single people during the holiday – if you are single, you should be sad. 

This begs the question: is Valentine’s Day just a gigantic marketing scam created by greeting card companies to make money? Or is it a holiday we should celebrate?

Catie Hinton, sophomore international business major, has mixed emotions around the holiday.

“I think it’s cute, but it is also overrated in my opinion,” Hinton said. 

While Hinton said she thinks it can be special for some people, she does not personally celebrate the holiday. She said that people should be doing special things all the time for the people they love. 

Natalie Plush, sophomore hospitality business management major, said she sees many flaws around Valentine’s Day and thinks it is a bit of a marketing scam.

Plush described a recent conversation she had with a co-worker in which they had different views around the holiday. Her co-worker explained to her what he was doing for his girlfriend – cooking her a fancy meal – and Plush argued that he could make his girlfriend a dinner any night of the week.

I think this is an interesting point. Is it more special to do random acts of kindness when it is not expected? Does the pressure or expectation to make an effort on this one day make that effort mean less?

While Plush is skeptical about this holiday, she also sees how Valentine’s Day can be a great day for many people, as it is fun to spend the day spoiling someone you love.

“I think that it can just spread a lot of love and joy into people’s lives and if you are struggling with seasonal depression, like a lot of people are, then it can just be a day to spread love,” Plush said. 

Plush also emphasized that Valentine’s Day is a day to spread little acts of kindness. It is not just a day to celebrate a significant other, but a time to show love to family and friends. She also said that every year her dad gets her a gift, which is special to her. 

It is clear that Valentine’s Day brings up a lot of mixed emotions. 

For some people, it is a perfect day to spread and give love. For others, it may be a reminder of loneliness or a pressure to be in a relationship. 

However you chose to spend the day, know that you should not feel pressure to celebrate if the holiday is not for you. And hey, if you do not mind a day eating chocolate out of heart-shaped boxes, have a happy Valentine’s Day!