Valentine’s Day; the truth behind the holiday

Tanya Raghu, Staff Writer

Often cited as a “Hallmark Holiday”, Valentine’s Day originated from skeptical beginnings, but can be traced back to Ancient times.

VDayMallorie Munoz

In the third century, Roman Emperor Claudius II outlawed marriage in Rome because he thought single young men were more fit to fight in the army. This law outraged St. Valentine, who was a priest, and continued to perform secret marriage ceremonies.


When Emperor Claudius II discovered St. Valentine’s disobeying of the law, he was punished with a death sentence. Since St. Valentine protected the right to love, he is known today as a heroic and romantic savior.


The origins of the day also date back to the Roman ceremony called “Lupercalia.” Lupercalia was a pagan festival which honored the infants, Romulus and Remus, who were the founders of Rome. After the ceremonial animal sacrifices, the single women of the city placed their names in a bowl where the men of the city would choose and they would typically marry each other.


St. Valentine was later considered a martyr by the Catholic Church, and before his death, he signed a letter, “From your Valentine”.


Lupercalia survived the rise of Christianity in Rome but was altered by the pope into a festival celebrated the Saint on Feb. 14 as St. Valentine’s Day.


By the 17th century, it was common for people to exchange tokens of love such as cards in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Mexico, France and Australia.


“I never knew the history behind the holiday and it is important that we celebrate love, but thinking from the aspect of reality, it’s created for commercial purposes,” Coppell High School sophomore Tanmai Singhania said.


In addition, the invention of the printing press allowed cards to be mass produced, making Valentine’s Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year.


Despite the historic origins of the day, many people fail to acknowledge Valentine’s Day legitimacy and consider it a contrived holiday.


“It is contrived and you should show your love all the time and there are a number of ways to do that, not just a day that Hallmark has chosen,” CHS teacher Wendy Levell said. “There is so much pressure and so much money spent.”  


Many people even consider it a day where single people are not appreciated and feel lonely when looking at abundance of love between couples.


“Valentine’s Day, in my opinion, should not be the only day where you give cards and flowers to a special someone, in a true relationship, these things should happen every day,” CHS sophomore Antharya Boindala said. “Also, it really puts down all the single people”


Even though many people still think of Valentine’s Day as illegitimate, 62 percent of adults say they celebrate the holiday, and 150 million cards continue to be exchanged every year.


“Even though Valentine’s Day was mainly created for commercial reasons, it’s really important that it celebrates love,” CHS sophomore Izzy Droz said. “That’s what makes it a holiday which has survived and has genuine meaning underneath that we should appreciate the holiday for.”

Do you think that Valentine's Day has real history or is it just made up for commercial purposes?

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