On the 15th of February, the Romans used to have a commemoration where their soldiers got to choose a woman to spend the next twelve months with prior to battle. Many of these pairs fell in love, and sought to marry. The soldiers no longer wanted to head off to battle, for they had found their soul mates and wished to be with them. The emperor, infuriated by this turn of events, set out to ban all soldiers from marriage. The church diverged, disregarded the emperor’s wishes, and married the couples in spite of him; the priests responsible were arrested, some were even sentenced to death.
There are a number of legends regarding this tale. One suggests that a priest named Valentine had been martyred for helping people escape the bleak, harsh Roman prisons that had them captured, beaten and tortured. Valentine was in love with the jailer’s daughter and he wrote her a letter of love and devotion, prior to his execution. At the close of his letter, Valentine wrote, “Farewell from your Valentine.” He died on the 14th of February. Around 498 A.D., February 14 was declared to be Valentine’s Day; this was designed as a day for lovers to send each other valentines, just as the priest did, to express devotion.
Along with this day being significant for the noble priests death, France and England viewed February 14 as the beginning of birds’ mating season. This inclines the idea for romance and expressing love for one another on this day. Valentine’s Day, the well-known sweetheart “holiday”, encourages lovers (and secret admirers) to express kind acts of romance and endearment. Many people have their own individual views on what Valentine’s Day is about. Some believe this day signifies love, and distinguishes “very romantic” couples from those who are not. Some have their own outlooks on the day.
Today, Valentine’s Day is treated as an opportunity for couples to send chocolate, flowers, and “valentines”(love letters) to one another, proclaiming their love. The real “mushy” couples will go out on dates, and spend the day together. Couples who are temporarily “long distance”, like military couples or couples separated at different schools, are often sad because they can’t be with each other to celebrate this special day together. Then, there are the couples that don’t believe they need a day to show their significant other that they love them, because it’s something that should be seen all the time. Apart from the various behaviors of couples on Valentine’s Day, there are single individuals who want nothing to do with the day. These people are common, and are bitter and anti-Valentine’s Day due to relationship status or lack thereof. This common stance on Valentine’s Day, for whatever their reasons may be, could be very stressful. Valentine’s Day was established upon pure love and devotion. Today, people have begun to misunderstand the meaning. All that seems to matter are physical, material items that they receive, and who gets more. Society has allowed superficial factors such as candies, flowers, expensive dinners and jewelry to bury the true meaning of Valentine’s Day.
To me, Valentine’s Day is what you make of it. It could be the worst day of the year, if you sit at home eating ice cream and watching The Notebook, and I don’t blame you for feeling anti-Valentine’s Day! If you gather the courage and ask that girl you’ve liked out, spend time with friends and family or others you love, or just treat it like any other day, then you understand the meaning of Valentine’s Day. It’s simply to love, and be loved. Reset your perspective, appreciate the opportunity you are given each year to entice the ones you love, and keep a smile on your face; even if you’re single on this day, there are a lot more days left in the year.
“Valentine’s Day is all about being with who or what you love, whether your friends, your boyfriend/girlfriend, or even with a box of chocolate in your room watching Lifetime movies!” said Hailey Mickulas, a freshman Journalism major. “Happy Valentine’s Day and do what makes you smile!” As Valentine had said, farewell, and keep the spirit of Valentine’s Day positive!