From left are Audrie Greene and Evelyn Velasquez are well “loved” based on the size of the bouquets they received on Valentine’s Day. Photo by Harper Pambrun
On Feb. 14, many AHS students celebrated Valentine’s Day and brought roses, chocolates, stuffed animals, or even balloons to school to give to their significant others. Students could be seen around campus loaded down with the “proof” that they are well loved, but has Valentine’s Day simply become ridiculously materialistic?
Valentine’s Day originated as a Catholic holiday in the 3rd century A.D. to celebrate Saint Valentine, but has since been adopted into American culture and turned into a day focused on who gets the best gifts. The holiday is dubbed a celebration of love and affection, but it’s expected that people express their love through material items like flowers, balloons, teddy bears, candy, etc. The cost of the gifts people give is considered the measurement of how a person truly feels about his or her significant other., which perpetuates a materialistic view of love, and that can be stressful for people who aren’t able to afford an abundance of expensive sweets and flowers “needed” on that day.
Also, those not in relationships often express loathing for the holiday, as the extravagant gifts will be a constant reminder throughout the day that they are single. Freshman Evita Escalante said, “Valentine's Day is great for people in relationships, but boring for everyone else not in a relationship. However, another student, freshman Arava Cherbinsky said, “Valentine’s Day is great! I love getting fun gifts from my family, and I especially love getting chocolate candy.”
Some teachers at AHS also celebrated Valentine’s Day by giving small treats to their students or having them do fun activities. One teacher, Ms. Denzel, gave all her students little cards, chocolates, and other candies. Ms. Bravo had each of her Spanish classes choose another teacher to surprise. Her classes covered the teacher's doors with Spanish phrases written on colorful, heart-shaped decorations and delivered plates of pastries.
The AHS Drama Club delivered “Valentine’s Grams” during Study Hall on Valentine’s Day to raise money for their club events and competitions. The singing telegrams were sold during the week leading up to Valentine’s Day for one dollar each, and lasted no more than 30 seconds. Students could send a gram to their friends or significant others and could choose from a selection of songs to be performed.
When asked about whether Valentine’s is an important holiday, freshman Mia Supulvida replied, “It’s boring, and just an excuse to eat copious amounts of chocolate. So I love it.”
While showing love for a significant other is a good idea, the original meaning of Valentine’s Day has been clouded by materialism and substantial spending. According to Finder.com, 68.2 million Americans spend about $19.2 billion on Valentine’s Day, with the average person spending about $110 on his or her significant other.
Valentine’s Day should be about showing appreciation for loved ones, but in ways that are not as materialistic and don’t cost a fortune. What most students don’t realize is that it's not about the money, it's about the time and effort they put into a gift. Valentine’s Day has become ridiculously materialistic, but students at AHS shouldn’t feel pressured to spend lots of money to express their love. How about handmade gifts and cards, like cookies and fudge?