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Baumgarten: Just another day

By the time you read this, one of several things will probably have happened. You will have a hangover or you will have a sugar crash. You will either wake up to the love of your life or you may be disappointed. And all because someone decided to pick one day out of the year for couples to be lovey-dovey.

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Valentine’s Day has come and gone, just as it does every year. Like Christmas, it had its own season — in fact, it started the day after Christmas. It’s safe to say that it is the second most commercialized holiday in the United States. People buy cards, candy, flowers and jewelry just because there is a heart on the calendar.

When it comes to holidays, I tend to not get too excited, especially when they are overemphasized. Groundhog’s Day, Columbus Day and Valentine’s Day are just days to me.

I know what you are thinking. “If it’s just another day, then why do you care enough to write about it?” I’m not going to waste my time in complaining that it is commercialized or that people waste their time. But I do have some interesting information.

First off, Valentine’s Day, as most know, is named after St. Valentine. What many may not know is his story. According to legend, Valentine performed marriages for soldiers when it was prohibited in the Roman Empire. Emperor Claudius II had him arrested and asked him to renounce his religion. Instead, Valentine tried to convert him. Claudius didn’t like this, so he had Valentine executed.

But before Valentine faced his death, he faced another challenge. The jailer’s daughter was sick. Legend says he healed the girl. Before he was executed, he wrote a card to her signed, “Your Valentine.”

Isn’t that romantic? He saved someone’s life and then died with final thoughts of the young lady. That’s the stuff of novels.

As a result, we have picked out one day of the year to take a special someone out and shower them with gifts. There is nothing wrong with that. I even got a day for Galentine’s Day, which was made up by the creators of NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” for women to celebrate female friends. It was a nice little box of chocolates, and I ate them up greedily.

As much as I love getting gifts, I have to say that there are too many holidays. Months are designated by governors to recognize movements. Companies and organizations send out press releases to reserve a week for an event. And almost every day is a holiday.

There are a lot of weird holidays, such as Ice Cream Day, which is celebrated Dec. 13. Why anyone would want to eat ice cream in the winter is beyond me, let alone celebrate it. There is also No Diet Day on May 6, where you either appreciate the body you have or stuff your face at the buffet. Other holidays include Work Like a Dog Day (Aug. 5), Tell a Lie Day (April 4) and, of course, Festivus Day. Yes, somewhere on Dec. 23 someone is taking that classic Seinfeld episode to heart, decorating their home with an aluminum pole, participating in the “Airing of Grievances” and tackling the head of family in the “Feats of Strength.”

Without this column, you may have never known that these holidays existed. And I’m sure you don’t care that they exist. So why should we care about Columbus Day? Why does it matter if a rodent crawls out of a hole? Why do we need to go out and try to impress someone with chocolates, flowers and diamonds? It’s beyond me.

I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to celebrate these holidays. You can obviously do whatever you want. But for the rest of us, don’t worry. There are another 364 days to find the one you love.

Baumgarten is the assistant editor of The Dickinson Press.

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April Baumgarten
April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, as the news editor. She works with a team of talented journalists and editors, who strive to give the Grand Forks area the quality news readers deserve to know. Baumgarten grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family continues to raise registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown (N.D.) College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college,  she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as the Dickinson city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican. She then returned to The Press as a news editor, where she helped lead an award-winning newsroom in recording the historical oil boom.