The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Opinion | Valentine’s Day shouldn’t be so serious

Ayaana Pradhan

Valentine’s Day is a holiday filled with many mixed emotions. If this day were a romantic comedy, the scenes would capture a spectrum of emotions surrounding the holiday.

For those who are single, the camera might pan to a dimly lit apartment room where the protagonist sits on the couch, surrounded by empty chocolate wrappers and tissues, indulging in a bottle of wine and a pint of ice cream. They might flip through old photos on their phone, scroll through social media feeds filled with couples’ posts and sigh wistfully at the romantic comedies playing on TV.

Meanwhile, for those in a relationship, the scenes would be filled with vibrant colors and warm embraces. Couples would be shown strolling hand in hand through sunlit parks, exchanging heartfelt gifts and whispering sweet nothings. As the sun goes down, they would ride off into the red Valentine’s Day sunset, laughing and smiling. Their love story is straight out of a fairy tale. 

Both scenarios may seem quite fictional but have been normalized throughout society on this romantic day. Those who are single are told to feel enraged and alone on Valentine’s Day while those who have someone to spend the holiday with are meant to feel elated and blissful. 

This perspective on Valentine’s Day has fostered division and pessimism surrounding the holiday. For those in relationships, the pressure to make the day excessively special can sometimes overshadow the genuine joy of the occasion. Conversely, for those who are single, feelings of dread can often loom large. 

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Yet, it’s essential to acknowledge that our lives don’t unfold like a romantic comedy, and thus, we should prioritize something more meaningful during this holiday — self-love.

Valentine’s Day can be a beautiful holiday that any person can enjoy if they escape the rom-com expectations and delve into self-care. For example, if you are alone on this holiday, spend the day with family or friends, buy yourself flowers, get your nails done, have an at-home spa day and make this day special for yourself and others. 

If you are in a relationship, make time for your loved one, but also remember to take care of yourself and realize that the importance of your relationship does not fall on one day. Still, make time to tell your friends and family you love them and make the day special for them as well. 

I remember I would always look forward to Valentine’s Day in grade school. Every year, my teachers and fellow classmates would pass out various valentines and candy to every student. On that day, I would race home to open each valentine and sort out the candy each provided. 

However, as I got older, the pressures of being in a relationship seemed to taint the holiday. The days of passing out valentines to one another were no longer, as this activity was reserved for those who had a special someone. It seemed that if you were single, there was nothing special included for you in this holiday.

It wasn’t until one day in high school that I attempted to refute this norm. I realized I didn’t need someone special to make my day filled with love. Thus, I spent my Valentine’s Day buying myself Valentine’s cards, flowers, face masks and bath bombs. I also surrounded myself with family and friends and ended my night with self-care. 

I realized through this Valentine’s Day excursion that the magic of Valentine’s Day shouldn’t end once you’re mature enough to be in a relationship. If society was open to the continuation of showing themselves and others’ love during this holiday, the joy of this holiday would continue. 


Sofia is a junior in LAS.

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