The quarantine has changed the way people show love due to limited physical connections and disruptions in various areas of life. Although the pandemic has forced to halt some activities, expressing love should not be part of that.

Valentine’s Day of 2021 will be celebrated differently compared to the prior years because certain regulations and precautions will hinder conventional date ideas. Even if the protocols are getting loose, people must remain vigilant in rejoicing love. The occasion can still be delightfully marked even in lesser contact yet with more sincere effort fueled by the same passionate purpose.

If there is certainty, families, friends, and couples may still see each other on Valentine’s Day. Nevertheless, they must be careful about celebrating it together. Instead of joining a probable crowd outside, try modifying the environment of the house.

Couples can still execute a romantic date night at their dinner table. They can imitate how most restaurants set the mood for Valentine’s like a Victorian romantic dinner — using a glass of champagne, serving a smoked salmon, or adding strawberries covered with chocolate on the side. If couples do not want a luxurious setting, they can simply order foods, watch movies, or make meaningful conversations.

Meanwhile, friends can celebrate this occasion by going back to an after-school-like hangout. Families, especially those with kids, can still celebrate love more at home through sharing activities that young children will enjoy the most. Whatever the home arrangement on Valentine’s Day for different loved ones, the most important is that the event will be done as a safe and blissful escape from the difficulties caused by the pandemic.

But if the preference is outdoor celebrations, malls, restaurants, and parks may not be the most favorable options. Instead, if available, a small Valentine’s gathering can happen in a car or by driving to a location away from crowds.

Even before the quarantine, there are already love expressed in a long distance. Some people may have experienced this and already know how to celebrate Valentine’s Day in this situation. Whether a partner, friend, or family lives far away, technology gives chance to interact with them, especially with Zoom becoming more popular nowadays.

Sending gifts can also be done online. For those who are in a budget, they can convey their love in digitally or through letter writing or sending stuff with sentimental value. Materialism is not a core principle of Valentine’s Day anyway. People just need to make sure that their loved ones will not feel alone on this occasion.

Finding love, not just celebrating it, is also commonly done on Valentine’s Day. Since having physical contact with strangers and acquaintances is strictly not advised, people can try to search for love and have dates in the digital space. Others may have a complicated outlook towards online dating but the current pandemic can change their perspective.

Using dating apps for the first time may be intimidating and frightening but if a person sincerely wants to find love in this way, he/she should attempt to be buoyant, curious, and acknowledge that a lot of people are also really desiring to meet someone in this setup.

Meanwhile, some people will merely let Valentine’s Day pass by like regular dates. But regardless if a person is single or not, he/she can still make this a memorable event. People can look more at St. Valentine, the patron saint commemorated on this day, and ponder over the reason why February 14 became momentous.

There are many narrative versions of St. Valentine. But the famous tale recounts that he was a priest who recognized and did something about the injustice shown by Emperor Claudius II’s law that prohibited young men to marry because of the judgment that single men make good soldiers.

With St. Valentine’s martyrdom story, people can spend this special day by fostering love and justice within the community, especially in dealing with the issues exposed by COVID-19 and recent natural disasters. With this action, people are celebrating a kind of love that is not only directed to close relationships but for the country as well.

Meanwhile, anyone can still feel loved by practicing self-care. They can celebrate Valentine’s day similar to how couples will do, except that foods, gifts, and quality time will be devoted for oneself. This can be the day when an individual can put him/herself first above all.

Since these celebrations are recommended to be cherished at home, the planning does not need to be grand. Treat this Valentine’s Day as a moment to simply remember love amidst the turbulent times. — Chelsey Keith P. Ignacio