The First Valentines

Kassandra Hernandez, Feature Editor

Chocolate-covered strawberries, roses, stuffed animals, yes, it’s that time of the year again. Some may dread it, but for others it’s a special day to spend time and love with their significant other, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint and where did this loving holiday originate from?

Valentine’s Day may be associated with romance, but the origin of the holiday isn’t romantic at all! The ancient Roman calendar included a holiday in mid-February before St.Valentine’s time. The holiday was called Lupercalia, it celebrated fertility and included a ritual in which men and women were paired off by choosing names from a jar.

In Ancient Greece, people observed a mid-winter celebration for the marriage of the god Zeus and the goddess Hera. Many historians believe these traditions may have influenced the way we now celebrate February 14.

Saint Valentine was a Roman Priest who performed weddings for soldiers forbidden to marry, because of a Roman emperor edict decreeing married soldiers did not make good warriors. This saint wore a ring with a Cupid on it, a symbol of love, that helped soldiers recognize him. Because of this legend, St. Valentine became known as the patron saint of love. While he established the day as a holiday for romantic love, what truly solidified the connection between Saint Valentine and love was a poem by medieval author Geoffrey Chaucer in 1381, which historians consider the modern celebration of Valentine’s Day.

It is a new era, there are no rules on how to celebrate this day. If you’re worried of feeling alone and, miserable, remember self-love is a thing. Whether it’s by yourself or with a partner, it is significant to remember why we celebrate this day and the things that had to happen in order to be here today.