Valentine’s Day!

Mattie Smith, Staff Writer

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No matter if you’re in a relationship or not, Valentine’s Day is a fun holiday to celebrate. The origins of Valentine’s Day are a little unclear; there are different theories about who St. Valentine was. However, it’s interesting to learn about the ancient beginnings of the February 14th celebration.

One possibility is that Valentine’s Day was named for a priest in 3rd century Rome. Claudius II, the emperor of the time, believed that single men made better soldiers than men with wives and children. So, he outlawed marriage for young males. In defiance of the Emperor, Valentine continued to perform marriages in secret for young couples. Unfortunately, he was sentenced to death when his actions were discovered.

Another story of how Valentine’s Day came about is that Valentine was imprisoned in a Roman jail when he fell in love with the jailor’s daughter. When he gave the girl a love letter, he signed it “from your Valentine,” the expression that is still widely used today. Although both of these theories ended in Valentine’s being put to death, he was remembered as a brave, empathetic, and, of course, romantic person.

The date of February 14th isn’t Valentine’s birthday or day of death or anything particularly important about the priest’s life. St. Valentine’s feast day was placed in the middle of February in an attempt to “Christianize” a Pagan celebration that took place in the same month. It wasn’t until the 5th century that Pope Gelasius officially declared February 14th as St. Valentine’s Day. In the middle ages, the day became associated with love and handwritten greeting cards on a larger scale.

Even though the origins of Valentine’s Day are not so sweet and frilly, today it’s a joyful holiday with chocolate and roses and nice cards. Don’t have a significant other to buy those things for? Who cares! It’s just as fun to celebrate with your family, friends, or even yourself. (Plus, all that candy will be on sale February 15th.)