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Valentine’s Day Traditions: Inside interviews with Eastern students about how they spend Valentine’s Day, whether they are in a relationship or single.

      Valentine’s Day typically gets two different responses. Some people adore everything about the holiday: the gift exchanges, the proclamations of love and the extra appreciation. Others are not fans of Valentine’s Day, seeing it as an unnecessary excuse to spend money or an opportunity for businesses to profit off of people and their relationships. Personally, I love the special day; there’s nothing better than getting the physical representation of someone’s care for you. However, I wanted to talk to other Eastern University students to get their perspectives on how they view and choose to spend Valentine’s Day.

      The first student I spoke with was James Arnold. He has dated his girlfriend, Rachel Beltran, for over a year. When I asked Arnold what Valentine’s Day meant to him, he replied, “I think it’s just a day when you show how much you love and appreciate somebody.” He went on to explain that he believes people should be showing their love to each other everyday, regardless if a holiday tells you to or not. Last year, Armold and Beltran spent Valentine’s Day together and exchanged gifts, but this year, they had a different idea.

      They decided to forgo buying gifts for each other and instead, focus their attention on a friend. Arnold and Beltran bought their friend gifts and gave her cards with words of affirmation. I thought that the fact they spent Valentine’s Day together, while still showing love to friends in their lives, was such a fantastic idea. It broadens the focus from just celebrating with a significant other, to celebrating with all of the people someone loves.

      After speaking with Arnold, I wanted to speak with someone who was less enthusiastic about Valentine’s Day. Jared Halsey was the next student I spoke with, and I asked him how he viewed the holiday.

      “If we’re being honest, I don’t think it means anything. It’s just another holiday. It’s nothing special, especially if you do what you should every other day” Halsey said.

      He spent the last two Valentine’s Days with his girlfriend, Jae DeJesus, and I asked him if she held a different opinion about the day.

      “She loves it. For her, it means a lot because it shows that I care, and she just likes feeling cared about” Halsey said.

      As DeJesus enjoys the holiday and Jared wanted to show her he cares, they exchanged gifts and went out to dinner. Halesey’s sacrifice to participate in a holiday that he doesn’t view as special is an act of love in and of itself.

      I processed what both Arnold and Halsey shared with me about their Valentine’s Days, but I also wanted to find out how a single student might spend the day. For this portion, I spoke with a close friend of mine, Cecilia Jones.

      “Valentine’s Day is when people share love to others in their life. This could be showing love to a significant other, friends, or family through gestures, gifts and activities together” Jones said.

      This year, she was able to spend time with her family and give gifts of candy and stuffed animals to her friends on campus. For Jones, the fact that she is single does not change her view on Valentine’s Day because she believes it is a day for everyone.

      “I don’t think Valentine’s Day would mean anything different to me if I were in a relationship. I still feel completely loved on that day by the people in my life. Being in a relationship would just be an add on”  Jones said.

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