Hello, everybody! Our Speak Up London team is glad to inform you that we are back with another of our blog specials, this time regarding one of the most controversial festivities: Valentine’s Day. But before speaking about the meaning of Valentine’s Day today, we believe it would be beneficial to understand how this celebration started and, more importantly, why this day is dedicated to love.
There are several legends associated with the figure of Saint Valentine, but according to the most popular of them, he was a priest who lived in the territories of the Roman Empire at the time of emperor Claudius II. The Emperor believed that unmarried soldiers were braver than married ones, since they would not have had anyone to be concerned about in the event of their death. As a consequence, the emperor declared it illegal for young men to marry. Then, Saint Valentine, aware of this injustice, ignored the decree and secretly continued to perform marriages for young couples. Once Claudius II discovered this, he formulated his death sentence.
The roots of the Saint Valentine celebration stem from a great demonstration of love and sacrifice, two concepts that are often entwined. And what about our society? What does Valentine’s Day represent for us? There are countless articles claiming that this holiday celebration has been turned into an occasion to glorify consumerism. Think about the massive number of gifts bought, trips booked and restaurants visited. Surely it is not too difficult to become sceptical regarding the true meaning of this festivity if you think about the economic interests behind it.
But, dear Speak Up London students, here is an audacious thought: do flowers, gifts or meals at restaurants cancel the feelings that provoke these actions only because they all involve economic factors? We don’t think so. In an age when it is easy to find rotten aspects of all our lives, we believe people should also find the time to rediscover the beauty of life and, we are sure you can all agree on this point, love plays an important role in the definition of that beauty. Therefore, it is necessary to have a day to remind us how to love, and how crucial love is in our lives. It doesn’t matter if to do so we need to spend money on presents or we just need to see the people we love: love needs to be celebrated, regardless how we do it.
Therefore, dear friends, think about the ways to display your love to your loved ones, and remember that Valentine’s Day is a great occasion to do so, not only for its meaningful origin but also because we all deserve and need to celebrate the noblest of feelings, love.
Maria Chiara Strano