Illustration by Ashley Stewart.

I am the most single person in the world and my favorite holiday is Valentine’s Day.

Love is a difficult thing to explain and understand, even. I’ve asked my mother many times what it feels like when you’re in love or how to know you’re in love, but she always answers with “you just know.” 

Perhaps I romanticize the idea of love and Valentine’s Day, though dedicating an entire day to spending time with the person you love and and just show how much you care about them sounds pretty amazing. Maybe I don’t understand that the day doesn’t mean anything to people in a relationship. But even then, I believe the day can be more than just you and your significant other, but you and the people you care about. 

I understand the arguments. Yes, it has been turned commercial and you should care and love for the people in your life for more than one day out of the year. However, the idea behind this holiday is what we should all focus on. 

Maybe the meaning of “love” has become so construed, that we often think “romantic relationship” instead of thinking of a bond, or attraction, beyond two people interested in each other. But that doesn’t mean we can’t change it. 

Originally, Valentine’s Day was a holiday called Lupercalia, a Roman festival celebrated in mid-February. The celebration was to mark the start of spring and fertility rites each year. After a while, the festival became a holiday and was named St. Valentine’s Day, or Valentine’s Day. 

It went down like this, the Emperor, Claudius II, came to the conclusion that young, single men were better suited for the military than they were to be husbands or fathers. Marriage for those men became illegal and St. Valentine recognized the injustice. Valentine then fought for the rights of young people and their love. Because Valentine fought against him, Claudius sentenced him to death. 

Valentine died for love. We celebrate the holiday now because we have the right to love. We celebrate St. Valentine and his courage to speak out. Valentine’s Day is more than just chocolates and roses, it’s fighting for what you believe in and loving so much that you fight for the right to express it. 

Instead of getting angry, educate yourself. Learn the stories behind holidays and traditions. Celebrate the holiday for its meaning, not for what it’s advertised as. We walk around every day not appreciating the people in our lives or realizing how much they mean to us. Valentine’s Day is a reminder to love and recognize your love. 

The idea that people loved love so much that they had to dedicate a holiday to it speaks volumes on the amount of emotion we are capable of feeling just for other people. So, embrace the emotion. Learn to feel as much as you can because that is what Valentine’s Day is about.