The Only Thing More Awkward Than Valentine’s Day Is The Fact We Make Kids Celebrate It

108312638Valentine’s Day; either I surround myself with people who are very pragmatic, or pretty much everyone believes this holiday is stupid. I don’t hate it per se, it’s just a day that I have always found awkward. Always. Thanks to our insistence that grade schoolers celebrate it – the awkwardness starts early. As this is something I would like to spare my children, I’m hoping we will eventually stop forcing students to celebrate a holiday that nobody really likes anyway.

Every year there seems to be yet another school banning candy – but they are really going the wrong route. Candy is seriously the only enjoyable thing about this holiday. I’d be happier if they just straight-up banned forcing our children to pass hearts and doves to every, single person in class. What are we celebrating? The history of this day is muddled at best – and pretty horrifying at worst:

From Feb. 13 to 15, the Romans celebrated the feast of Lupercalia. The men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then whipped women with the hides of the animals they had just slain.

The Roman romantics “were drunk. They were naked,” says Noel Lenski, a historian at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Young women would actually line up for the men to hit them, Lenski says. They believed this would make them fertile.

Pretty interesting, huh kids?

I guess elementary school may actually have been the most benign of my early experiences with Valentine’s Day. We would decorate a lunch bag, tape it to our desks and everyone would pass cards around. We were instructed to make one for the entire class, so it’s not like anyone ever really felt special. But there was candy – which makes everything worthwhile when you are seven.

Middle school was next – the pinnacle of “the awkward years.” Valentines were no longer required, so you got to add a little rejection to your already crippled self-esteem. Great idea! My school had this weird carnation delivery ritual. On Valentine’s Day, a messenger would come into the room with a basket of carnations and everyone would sit there staring at it. One-by-one, the carnations would be delivered and half of the class would be beaming while the rest sat there, dejected. Fun!

High school took Valentine’s Day rejection to the next level, as you watched all your classmates who already had boyfriends get bouquets of flowers and wrapped gifts brought to them. I never had a boyfriend in high school (a trend I’m hoping will continue with my kids), so I was never one of the beaming girls in the hall. I have always had amazing friends though, and we lessened the blow by bringing each other stuff.

Can we all just agree this day is just a Hallmark holiday at best – and a depressing reminder that no one is bringing you stuff at worst? I’m not really sure why this is a holiday at all – but I’m really confused as to why we make our kids celebrate it.

(photo: Getty Images)

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