Valentine’s Day: Then vs Now


Remember elementary school? Snack time, line leaders, and one teacher the whole day (Bryan kids remember Ms. Auger and her endless supply of Hershey Kisses). Before we knew about College Board, applications, AP and honors classes, GPA, or even Genesis. Life was simpler. 

We didn’t even think about the type of romance we recognize in high school. There were no talking stages, no situationships, no sneaky links, and certainly no committed relationships. Valentine’s Day in elementary school meant a class party. The night before, you and your mom would compile treats for the class like Rice Krispies Treats or Smarties. On each, you wrote “From: your name” and if your mom wanted to go all out, you addressed each one with your classmates’ names.

Once in school, we spent the day waiting for the teacher to tell us to clear our desks so we could pass out candy to everyone in the class. We were all guaranteed candy from everyone; no one felt left out or less loved. Unlike in high school, I never heard my friends complain about being single. The holiday was just an excuse to have a party and eat some candy. Back then, the best thing we could imagine was someone passing out the Fun Dip’s their mom bought.

Now, Valentine’s Day at its best is simply conforming to the expected. You can either be in a relationship, or suffer. The holiday creates the expectation that you should be in a relationship, and if you are among the unfortunate souls that lack a date, the holiday makes it clear to everyone. 

As a teenager on Valentine’s day, you’re caught in the transition from a fun and lighthearted celebration to the more mature version of Valentine’s Day, which emphasizes having a partner. You wish you could return to the good old days of class parties and free candy, yet you also feel the pressure to have a relationship to celebrate. 

But at the same time, the only time high schoolers really give the holiday attention is if they are in a relationship, or if they’re forking over a dollar for some candy at a bake sale. If the celebration isn’t built into the school day like in elementary school, students are too focused on studying for their next test to actually celebrate. Personally, I’d rather go back to the days of pure joy and innocence, where the holiday meant free candy from friends.