Feb. 14, the date couples wait all year for and single people dread. Although Valentine’s Day seems like it's reserved for those in happy relationships, it is said showing love and appreciation to family and friends is just as important.
In the U.S., the way Valentine's Day is celebrated changes as people age. It goes from dropping cards and candy into shoe boxes in elementary school to buying flowers and going on fancy dinner dates. These are just a few of the many traditions that come with the holiday of love.
Valentine’s Day has been formally celebrated since the 14th century and has been linked to the Roman festival of Lupercalia. All around the world people celebrate Valentine’s Day and have their own traditions.
In the U.S., common traditional gifts include chocolate, jewelry, stuffed animals and flowers, particularly red roses that symbolize beauty and love. In American culture, it is also common to write and send letters to loved ones.
Around the world, however, countries celebrate Valentine’s day in completely different ways.
In India, for example, the Indian government has asked its people to hug cows on Valentine’s Day to better promote Hindu values. In Bulgaria, couples celebrate San Trifon Zartan, which means 'day of the winemakers,' in which couples celebrate their love with a glass of local wine.
Other traditions occur in the Philippines and Wales. In the Philippines, Valentine’s Day is a time when young couples often get married in an event sponsored by the government. In Wales, it is common to exchange the gift of handcrafted wooden spoons to show love.
At Ohio University, students are also celebrating Valentine’s day in fun and unique ways. Even though many students are apart from their family and hometown friends, they are still finding ways to enjoy the day of love.
One group of friends at OU celebrated Galentine's Day rather than Valentine's Day and had the best time doing so. Chloe Partlow, Max Baker, Celia Hawk and Jamie Wiley, all freshmen studying environmental studies, celebrated this Valentine’s Day with a picnic.
“We’re just having a little picnic today, decorating cookies and spending time together,” said Baker. “I’ve been in a relationship previous Valentine’s Days, but most of us have gone through break ups in the past month.”
The group of friends have put special emphasis on showing love and appreciation to family and friends, rather than a romantic partner.
“Valentine’s Day is not just about relationships, it’s about showing your love for everyone,” said Partlow. “I got a picture from my baby cousin today, and we all got cards from Celia.”
Wiley is in agreement with Partlow.
“You should show love to everyone in your life as often as you can with everything going on, but Valentine’s Day is an excuse to be a little cheesy about it, and I’m a huge cheeseball,” said Wiley. “Even last year when I had a partner I still made all of my friends and family cards and got them chocolate.”
Whether one is happily taken on Valentine’s Day or flying solo, there is always a reason to celebrate. One can take time this Valentine's Day to let their friends, family and loved ones know just how much they appreciate them!