More than just hearts and candy: The forgotten legend of Saint Valentine

Heart shape candy and Valentine’s Day sign

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Heart shape candy and Valentine’s Day sign

Savannah Shotwell, staff

Filled with cheer, junior Claire Austin looks forward to entering her first period class, noticing small gifts and letters filling everyone’s desks. The ping of texts will flush the room as students look down at their phones with blushing cheeks. Usually, first period is an hour of exhaustion and dreariness, but this day will be no ordinary day.

February 14th, Valentine’s Day, a day full of admiration, love, and gratefulness. But what people around the world are missing is the why. Why do we spread love and cheer on this seemingly random winter day? 

Valentine’s Day as we know it is associated with candy hearts, chocolate and flowers, while the true meaning has been mostly lost to time.

The first Valentine’s Day ever celebrated dates back to the year 496 and originated from the legend of  Saint Valentine, who was imprisoned for ministering to Christians who were being persecuted by the Roman empire in the third century.

During his time in jail, it is said that Valentine restored sight to the blind daughter of his jailer, and wrote her a letter signed “Your Valentine.”

This is where the idea of having a “valentine” on Valentine’s day comes from. 

In the 8th century, the celebration of Saint Valentine was recorded on February 14th as a day for Christians to feast and remember the his legend.

During the 14th and 15th centuries, this holiday was associated with early Spring love and romance. Eventually, in 18th century England, Valentine’s Day became the romantic holiday we celebrate today.

Since then, Valentine’s Day has grown in popularity and is celebrated all around the world in countries such as Britain, Canada, Australia and the United States. Generally, Valentine’s day is celebrated with the aforementioned candy, flowers, greeting cards and romantic dinners. However, couples in Bulgaria celebrate with a glass of local wine, while in Wales they exchange special handcrafted wooden spoons. 

Valentine’s Day may have gone from a day of celebration and remembrance of Saint Valentine to a slightly cheesy romantic holiday, but that doesn’t mean CHS students and teachers don’t know how to make the most of it.

Some prefer a simple Valentines celebration, while others prefer to go all out with decorations and gifts. When asked how she celebrates Valentine’s day with her boyfriend Evan Lanphier, Austin said: “We just get each other a few small gifts.” 

“Me and my boyfriend will go out to dinner and have a date night. My mom will buy the kids a bunch of candy,” senior Rylie Lambert said.

Most see Valentine’s Day as a fun holiday to give gifts to our loved ones, but Spanish teacher Mrs. Odle views it as a big waste of money.

“I think [Valentine’s day] is a ploy by our society to drain us of more money, and put pressure on us that we need to buy gifts or do something big for our significant other.”

Instead of giving out candy or even putting up decorations, Odle sticks to playing priceless 80s love songs to bring the festivities to class. 

No matter how, or even if you celebrate Valentine’s Day, be sure to let your loved ones know you care. Whether you’re single or exchanging gifts with your significant other, remember that behind all the cheesy cards and candy hearts, the true meaning of Valentine’s day is a legend of love against all odds.