What is Valentine’s Day really about?

Love in lights
Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

They say today is about LOVE. That’s a big word, and sometimes we cram all the wrong things into it.

Many today are celebrating Valentine’s Day. I was curious about its origin and why society had chosen to associate it to the celebration of love and romance, so I looked it up.

It was an interesting tale of Roman soldiers who were forbidden to marry, a saint who ministered to persecuted christians and fell in love with his jailor’s daughter, as well as ancient fertility rituals or the celebration of the arrival of spring.

Add all these factors together, plus some traditions picked up along the way, and you more or less wind up with our modern-day festivity.

Yet not everyone likes what it has turned into. “Every day should be Valentine’s Day”, say some who think today’s celebration is a consumerist waste of time.

When you’re bombarded with cheap examples of what love is supposed to be and repeatedly told that a certain product is sure to guarantee lasting true love, you may be inclined to agree with the sceptics.

Do we really need a specific day to celebrate love?

Sometimes we only criticize Valentine’s Day as armour against a feeling of missing out, one that is often fostered by the festivity itself.

However, love isn’t limited to romance and passion, though they play their part.

We shouldn’t let today only be about buying stuff we don’t need, comparing our lives to a Hollywood rom-com or keeping up with the coolest Valentine’s trend.

Love can – and should – be present in everything we do.

The problem with the concept of love we’ve been sold is that it has been deformed. We have called feelings, moments or attitudes love, when sometimes they are far from it. Sometimes they have a lot less to do with love and a lot more to do with control, consumerism or other negative behavior.

Maybe if we need a specific day to remind us to love one another we are not doing such a good job of it as we think.

365 Valentine’s Days

Perhaps every day should be Valentine’s Day. Just because it’s cliché doesn’t mean it’s necessarily untrue. But we can’t stop at that statement, repeating it throughout February to anyone who will listen. We need to actually do something about it for the remainder of the year.

Love needs to be present in all aspects of our lives, in how we treat our neighbour, in how we talk about our boss or employees, in how we address the person on the till at the supermarket or the person who jumps the queue, in how we show others we care.

This concept of love goes beyond the modern Valentine’s Day celebration and focuses on a much older description:

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

This is why, saying ‘I love you’ or purchasing a gift on Valentine’s is meaningless unless love professed  is also love demonstrated.

This doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate love, romantic or otherwise, on Valentine’s Day nor does it mean that we shouldn’t say ‘I love you’ when we mean it. But it might mean we need to examine the kind of love we are celebrating today.

When it comes down to it, love is always in the details.


Love is the details
in the little things you do
and few words are needed when
your actions shout 'I love you'.
Love is in the details
in the way you look at me
and ask about my busy week
over a steamy cup of tea.
Love is in the details
in those things that show you care
and the one that makes it obvious
is the fact you're always there.
Love is in the details
in that ever listening ear
and whispered words remembered
or the choice to sit so near.
Love is in the details
in your ever generous giving
your kindness and commitment
your simple way of living.
Love is in the details
in how we linger by the door
and time spent together
always leaving room for more.
Love is in the details
in walking side by side
and even when getting it wrong
we both know how hard we tried.
Love is in the details
in every choice we make
loving is a decision
every moment we're awake.
Love lasts for more than a season
it withstands all sorts of trials
it's much deeper than a feeling
it shows in every smile.

Love is a big topic and I could never fit all aspects of it in one blog post or in one poem. So to finish off I will leave you with this quote.

Today we celebrate the fact that we are loved, not that we have a partner.

Malcom Duncan

This is the perfect definition for Valentine’s Day, because today shouldn’t be a day to feel lonely or to feel like you’re missing out. Today should be a reminder you are loved and can continue to love others on a daily basis.

Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?

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