The Valentine’s Day controversy: Sucky for some, rewarding for others


Thea Dai

Avery Neuner ’24 celebrates her first birthday—and Valentine’s Day!

I’ve always had strong opinions about Valentine’s Day. That would be because February 14th happens to be my birthday. But, as exciting as that sounds, my birthday is just a built-in excuse not to think about the fact that I’m not in a relationship. Though my point of view might seem cynical or a little bit sad, I don’t really like Valentine’s Day. However, my childhood self thought otherwise.

In elementary school, Valentine’s Day was my favorite holiday. It was just an excuse to eat a crap ton of sugar—the heart-shaped lollipops were always the best—and not learn anything for a day.

For me, having a birthday on a holiday automatically made me special, and I loved it. I would wake up on my birthday to pink and red balloons and wrapping paper. I also got to eat way more sugar than the average person did. At this point in my life, Valentine’s Day was just an extension of my birthday.

Middle school was when I started to disregard Valentine’s Day as a good holiday. The moment you get to middle school is when you have to actually start learning things, regardless of the holiday. Even worse, I went to a co-ed middle school. There, you’re expected to start having awkward middle school crushes and relationships. I vocally hated this idea, much to the annoyance of my friends, and I have legitimately never met a person who considers middle school relationships to be an actual thing.

This year will be the first year I get to celebrate Valentine’s Day in high school. So naturally, I was curious about how Castilleja students feel about Valentine’s Day.

Zahra Gayle, ’24 said, “I’ll consider it a holiday once I’m not single.” Gayle’s statement encompassed how I and a lot of other Castilleja students I talked to feel about Valentine’s Day. February 14th isn’t really a holiday until you’re in a relationship, and a good chunk of Castilleja students aren’t in one.

Valentine’s Day is geared towards couples, which is nice and all, but, in the words of Yasmine Haque ’24, “Why do we have one day where people love their significant other? Why isn’t that every day?”

The holiday isn’t really about loving your significant other. If you actually value them, you love them every day. Valentine’s Day is really just a hallmark holiday to sell the idealistic image of perfect romance and to sell gifts and chocolates.

I’ve never believed that love is that idealistic and easy. Love is, in my opinion, something that you have to work for. It doesn’t just magically become perfect one day out of the year.

So, I don’t like Valentine’s Day. But there’s got to be a reason every country in the world recognizes Valentine’s Day, right? So how do people who aren’t in a relationship celebrate a day about love?

I talked to even more Castilleja students to figure out how they enjoy Valentine’s Day.

Loralei Rohrbach ’24 explained, “Valentine’s Day has become so commercialized. I understand why people hate it. But the way I celebrate it is I make a point to call people and tell people I love them.” It’s nice to have a day that reminds you to spread love.

Analisa Delgado ’24 shared a similar sentiment. She loves Valentine’s Day because “it’s a day for you to show people love.” She continued to say that she celebrates Valentine’s Day by sharing sweets with friends and family. After all, who doesn’t like chocolate?

Despite my loud opinions on Valentine’s Day, I still have a few good memories.

When I was in middle school I had a friend named Chloe. All things considered, we weren’t super good friends, but, when Valentine’s Day rolled around, she made a point to celebrate with me and wish me a happy birthday. I still remember—she gave everyone a bunch of those tacky conversation hearts, but she gave me a few extra for my birthday.

I don’t like conversation hearts, but I really liked those ones.

Maybe Valentine’s Day, the way it is marketed to people, is a bad holiday. But, maybe there are ways that we can celebrate it that make it at least a little bit fun.