OPINION: Diamond rings aren’t everything
Do you know the true meaning of Valentine’s Day? Probably not. Like the majority of people, you might think Valentine’s Day is all about romance, giving and receiving chocolates and flowers and going out for a nice dinner. After all, that's all society has taught us. Unfortunately, you’re wrong. We're all wrong.
Historians have not been able to pinpoint the origin of Valentine's Day but have theories saying it originated in the Roman Empire, when two men, both named Valentine, were executed.
Every year, on Feb. 15, Romans would celebrate the feast of Lupercalia, which consisted of men slaughtering goats and dogs, according to an NPR article. They also played a matchmaking game that required men to pick a woman's name from a jar. He would then pair up with her for a year until the next festival. If they fell in love, they married. Tinder has nothing on this ancient matchmaking.
Here’s the wild part: With the hides of those animals they had just slaughtered, the men would whip women in the streets with the belief they would become more fertile, also according to the NPR article. Most women embraced the whippings by exposing skin for the men to target.
As Valentine’s Day celebrations continued, it became a more romantic holiday thanks to people like Shakespeare and Chaucer, who romanticized the celebration in their poetry, according to NPR. Thanks, Shakespeare, because all we needed was another holiday to make us to spend more money.
Speaking of money, the amount of money people spend on Valentine’s Day is ridiculous. According to the National Retail Federation, the amount of people celebrating Valentine's Day is decreasing, but the amount of money being spent is increasing. Love may be declining, but the extravagance of it all is only going up, so prepare your wallets, ladies and gentlemen.
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In 2018, Americans were estimated to spend $143.56 per person on Valentine's Day. That's about $19.6 billion. $4.7 billion of that was spent on jewelry alone. If you ask me, it all seems a bit absurd. Also, Valentine’s Day allows us to believe it’s only okay to celebrate your partner on that day.
Maybe she deserves diamonds every week, maybe he deserves an expensive bottle of cologne every month, or maybe they just need to hear they are loved.
How about just telling your significant other, or whoever you buy valentines for, you love them? Let’s leave the Hallmark cards and the Russell Stover chocolates in the past. Those diamond earrings will make her happy, but the little things matter too, sometimes even more.
Do your partner's laundry for once, maybe wash the dishes, buy them some stress-relieving lotion. This year, why don’t we challenge ourselves to do something other than diamonds and chocolates? Think about what your partner wants and needs, and get it done.
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