One of my favorite things about the internet and Facebook in particular, is the news feed. It’s pretty easy to get a glimpse of public opinion and how people feel about certain issues. The days leading up to Valentines Day, people only mentioned it to bash it and point out that it’s nothing but a commercialized phony holiday- which is true. But here’s the thing, so are all the other holidays. They may have started out as something else, but today it’s about marketing and buying shit we don’t need.
However, there’s something no one seems to notice. Sometimes you may hear somebody say they wish it was like Christmas, or Halloween, or whatever all year round. But take a minute and imagine that. Imagine everyday you gave and received gifts, everyday you got flowers and a heart shaped box of chocolates and went out to a fancy, overly romantic restaurant, or every night kids knocked on your door saying “trick or treat.” First, it would be really fucking expensive. Second, it would get old real fast and degrade into downright annoying. The holidays would lose whatever meaning they have left. While they, in reality, are days just like any other, we become desensitized to most things that happen everyday. The sun comes up everyday and it’s normal, we don’t even think about it. Imagine- though life as we know it would be impossible- that the sun only came up once a year. Well, holy shit! We’d all be out there celebrating that one day of light out of year of darkness.
It thus seems that holidays play an important psychological role in our lives to bring certain values forward without making them old and worn out. When we celebrate something, anything, on a certain day and not everyday it makes the day special in our minds. The atmosphere changes and the day itself can change the way we feel. These days break the tedium of everyday life and let us highlight certain emotions. The holidays, including Valentines Day, are no different from all the days past and future, but the way we experience them is different. They’re little psychological nuggets of novelty and anthropologically significant in any culture even though the specific holidays vary from culture to culture.
So, take them for what they are: regular days that are special only in our minds, but would lose any meaning that they hold if we acted like everyday was a particular holiday.
~David T. Kukulkan~