How people celebrate the season of love with friends, family and partners
Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and people are still celebrating the holiday of love. Some people are spending time with their spouses, taking the weekend to get away and rekindle the spark, or even just staying home and enjoying a night in with their loved ones with chocolate and gifts galore.
Valentine’s Day started in the 14th century, when a Christian named Valentine was martyred. The martyr was honored through a feast. Through years and generations of folktales and stories, the holiday turned into a day when people celebrate their love by giving gifts, chocolates and spending time together with their loved ones.
Some students at DePaul see Valentine’s Day as a chance to get away from responsibilities and spend the day with someone they love, either having dinner or exploring Chicago.
Freshman Josie Assenmacher celebrated Valentine’s Day with her boyfriend, who flew over from Ohio to visit her in Chicago over the weekend. They went to Swift and Sons on Friday, as well as stayed at a Marriott hotel. Even though Josie thinks of Valentine’s Day as a Hallmark holiday, it makes her feel good to get her friends and family gifts. “It’s always a good excuse to celebrate someone. That can never be a bad thing,” she said.
Another student who spent Valentine’s Day celebrating with someone that was special to them was sophomore Harsh Thakker, who despite not being in a committed relationship, spent Valentine’s Day with someone he met at school and got closer with. Thakker said he made dinner, bought candy and flowers and just spent quality time getting to know this person.
“I think it shows how much you care about a person,” he said. “Valentine’s Day is not about how expensive a gift is, but rather the thought behind doing a special gesture for someone meaningful in your life. It can be friends, family or significant others.”
For other students who are not in relationships, or are too busy with classes and extracurriculars, Valentine’s Day is not that important. These students just see it as a regular school day.
Andrew Kosteyba, a sophomore, is one of the students who are not celebrating Valentine’s Day, mainly because he is single, so he doesn’t see a reason to celebrate with anyone. “I’m not in a relationship and I also don’t have anyone who I would like to celebrate with,” he said. “I feel like if I were in a relationship, then it would mean something in terms of for the other person in the relationship, but whenever I am not in a relationship, [Valentine’s Day] is just another day for me, nothing special.”
Over the course of time, people have acknowledged that Valentine’s Day is not only about couples. People can also celebrate it with their best friends, or even themselves. This idea evolved when there was a rise in single people who also wanted to celebrate, despite not being in relationships, and so they celebrated themselves and their friends.
One student who celebrated with his friends was senior James Eckermann. Eckermann spent his Valentine’s Day with two of his friends having lunch at the restaurant the Flat Top Grill and walking around to explore the Museum of Science and Industry. Even though it wasn’t anything romantic, he said he had a great time with his friends. “Valentine’s Day means a day where you can spend time with the people you care about, whether it is romantic or platonic,” he said. “As long as you’re getting some kind of social interaction with close friends, it’s great. I think it especially alludes to those in a relationship as just a day for celebrating being close to someone else.”
Another student who didn’t spend their Valentine’s Day with their partner was senior Meghna Thota. However, Thota did mention that this was the only year that she didn’t spend Valentine’s Day with someone special, and in previous years, she has gone out with her significant other and spent some quality time after school or work with them.
“I think it [Valentine’s Day] can be for anybody,” Thota said, when asked if she thought Valentine’s Day was only for couples. “I did celebrate Valentine’s Day with my girlfriends as ‘galentine’s day.’ We threw a small dinner together, just catching up on how our life is.”
Valentine’s Day has been around a long time, and it will probably stay for centuries longer, and it shows the importance of cherishing our friends and loved ones and showing them that you love them. Your loved ones deserve a day where they are celebrated, and even if it isn’t on Valentine’s Day, they deserve a lot of love.
Header Illustration by Madeline Smith