Valentine’s Day and Its History

Valentines Day and Its History

Cami Deakins (Senior), editor

Valentine’s Day occurs every year on February 14th. Across the United States and in other places around the world, candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. It is a holiday loved by couples but despised by those feeling alone. But where did Valentine’s Day start?

There are many theories as to where the name Valentine originated. The Catholic Church recognized at least three different saints named Valentine, or Valentinus, who were all martyred (killed because of their religious beliefs). A legend contends that the first Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome under Emperor Claudius II, who decided to outlaw marriage for young men. Valentine defied Claudius and continued to marry couples in secret. Once his actions were discovered by Claudius, he was sentenced to death. Others insist that it was Saint Valentine of Terni who was the true namesake of the holiday. He was also beheaded by Claudius outside of Rome.

According to one legend, an imprisoned Valentine actually sent the first “valentine” greeting himself after he fell in love with a young girl. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter signed “From you Valentine,” an expression that is still used today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is questionable, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a heroic and romantic figure that is pictured today.

“I love Valentine’s Day because it’s a great day for couples but also my family. Every year my parents get me some sort of gift and chocolates. It is a tradition that I won’t ever forget,” said junior Chloe Maciel.

Valentine’s Day has roots dating back all the way to 496 AD and once it was identified as the official holiday for love, it was allowed to be celebrated on February 14th, which is also to be believed as the beginning of birds’ mating seasons. It has since been celebrated as a day for love with the symbol being Cupid, the Roman god of love based on the Greek god of love Eros.

“I personally am not a huge fan of Valentine’s Day but I think it is a cool holiday we have because there is a lot of history behind it. Plus, people are nicer on that day and show love to everyone,” said sophomore Kate Williams.