Should Valentine’s Day be Celebrated?


Natalie Pashaie



It has been seen in countless movies and television shows: the handing out of anonymous red roses, the boxed chocolates shaped like hearts, you know the rest. Last year, Milken’s student government gave students the opportunity to purchase single red roses and either anonymously or explicitly have them delivered on campus to a special someone. Many schools across America have a similar tradition. Over time this special day has evolved into a cultural phenomenon: the giving of roses and other gifts equated with romance has been extended from only to significant others to friends as well.

Let’s trace back to the roots of Valentine’s Day. It has been said that it is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the death of Saint Valentine. Others say that Valentine’s Day was created to make mainstream a Roman celebration that occurred in mid-February. Either way, Valentine’s Day is clearly not a Jewish holiday, and is considered by people of many faiths to not be worthy of the title holiday at all. What is seen as a universal celebration of love by some is seen as a passé pagan holiday by others.

Another factor comes into play when considering the embracing of this day. Many administrators nationwide feel that Valentine’s Day creates an unfair air of competition amongst students: Who has a valentine, who doesn’t? Who got a valentine’s day gift, who didn’t? Many feel that Valentine’s Day propels feelings of inferiority and self-consciousness as well as the idea that someone else’s love should measure one’s own self worth. That is certainly not a principle any respectable school would wish to enforce.

In an effort to be more “culturally inclusive”, Bruce Vento elementary school principal, Scott Masini, decided to “discontinue the celebration of the dominant holidays until we can come to a better understanding of how the dominant view will suppress someone else’s view.” The Minnesota school administrator then added that it is crucial to take into consideration “whether or not this practice is encroaching on the educational opportunities of others and threatening the culture of tolerance and respect for all.” Although many parents, students, and faculty are upset at the loss of school-wide celebrations, a large number of people also support Masini’s decision, claiming that celebrating Valentine’s Day at a school is not politically correct.

Milken has always been considered a pluralistic, modern school, inclusive of American secular culture. That being said, should Valentine’s Day be acknowledged at the school? With the constant change of the modern world and the always growing talk of “politically correctness”, the true meaning of “pluralism” comes into question. What can and should be celebrated, and what ostracizes and offends?