Why do we have a national romance day?

valentine - CopyLook, I love celebrating the feast days of Catholic saints. And Saint Valentine was a martyr for the faith, so he has my profound respect. But when exactly did we decide that February 14th should be a day where we all collectively show romance to our significant other?

Why did we decide that if you really love your wife or girlfriend that you must by her roses in the middle of winter? Why do we all take our wives out for dinner tonight?

Doesn’t it seem silly?

Now, don’t call me a cheapskate or a killjoy. When it comes to romance, my wife will confess that I can be rather sappy. And I’d be mortified if Chuck Norris burst into my house when I was watching the Wedding Singer. “Uh, hey, yeah, watching this movie… just came on TNT…. what a great soundtrack. Man, I love the 80s, [nervous laugh] amirite, Chuck?”

But why do we perpetuate this national day of purchasing chocolate and going out for dinner? It sure makes Hallmark and the florists happy. Women seem to demand it and men consider it this arbitrary and annoying national tribute that it isn’t worth combating. What man wants to be accused of not loving their wife — and you obviously have to spend money on February 14th to prove that, right?

But it has negative affects other than just wasting money on a day that isn’t truly special for that couple. It can make life miserable for single people who yearn for married life. I can think of a close friend of mine who loathes when this day comes around. And I had no great fondness for the day before 2005.

Look, I understand and applaud it when a community rallies behind their high school team. And we as a country celebrate our Independence Day and Thanksgiving. But why did we all decide to get be romantic on the same day?

I’d rather celebrate August 15 — the anniversary of my first date with Lori. And yes, I used a cheesy Catholic pickup line. She was working at the hospital that Sunday, and wouldn’t get done with work until close to dinnertime. Both of her cousins refused her offer to attend Sunday evening Mass with her on that Solemnity. I didn’t realize at the time, but she was also running a Marian apostolate, so she was particularly disappointed by their unwillingness to join her. But, yes, cheesy Mercer to the rescue: “No one should have to celebrate the Feast of the Assumption alone.”

We still laugh at how corny it was. But hey, it got a laugh. And more importantly, I got the girl.

My wife and I also celebrate July 2, as that is our anniversary. No joke, when Lori was younger she used to joke about the names of obscure saints. Her favorite? Saint Otto. Well, he got the last laugh: His feast day is July 2nd.


On our wedding day, we splurged and rented a trolley car. The date of July 2nd naturally has special meaning to us as a couple. I’m the man in the upper left hand corner who can’t believe he married such a beautiful (and holy) Catholic woman.

And your anniversary is when it makes sense for married couples to celebrate their love for each other. And it’s not like going to the prom. It’s your special day. It’s special because it’s not everyone doing it the same d
ay. If I buy her flowers, they aren’t artificially priced super high because of a massive demand that day for roses. There’s also no problem getting a reservation at a nice restaurant on our anniversary. And when people at the restaurant hear it’s our anniversary they are join in on a cheer. Just as we get excited when we see other couples on their anniversary day.

But no one’s special at Olive Garden tonight.



  • avantibev

    March 17th gets my vote as worst feast day. Come to Chi Town and see the Celtic Druids fill the gutters witb green vomit to honor over rated “saint”

  • Will

    No one is under any obligation unless your spouse or significant other requires it. Like life, some times you have to let go of the negative and be positive.

  • Annie

    We become jaded too quickly by this world. We’re smart and cynical but we mustn’t snatch from young people the romance of falling in love:

    ‘Isn’t it romantic?
    Music in the night,
    a dream that can be heard?
    Isn’t it romantic?
    Moving shadows write
    the oldest magic word.
    I hear the breezes playing
    in the trees above
    While all the world is saying
    you were meant for love.

    Isn’t it romantic?
    Merely to be young
    on such a night as this
    Isn’t it romantic?
    Every note that’s sung
    is like a lover’s kiss
    Sweet symbols in the moonlight
    Do you mean that I will
    fall in love perchance?
    Isn’t it romance?’

    We may be too smart for Valentine’s Day, but let them have their lovely moment when romance is all.

  • David J. White

    It’s a Christianization of the Roman fertility festival Lupercalia, which fell on Feb. 15.

  • Eric Johnson

    So we should cancel Valentine’s Day because some people choose to be miserable on that day?

    • Joshua Mercer

      You can celebrate all you want. I just think it’s a bit silly. My children like creating valentine cards for their friends, and that’s fine. But the idea that you need to buy chocolates of go to dinner on this date to prove that you love your spouse is silly. I’d save that for a date that has more meaning.

      • Eric Johnson

        I agree.



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