Cupid soars through the skies: The history of Valentine’s day

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Yet again, love is in the air, as friends, couples and families celebrate this year’s wonderful holiday with flowers, chocolates, cards, gifts and kindness in the name of St. Valentine.

Valentine’s Day evolved “from the ancient Roman ritual of Lupercalia that welcomed spring to the card-giving customs of Victorian England,” editors stated. The holiday shows Christian and Roman influence. 

In one legend, a saint named Valentine, or Valentinus, was a Catholic priest that served during the third century in Rome. He married young couples in secret after Emperor Claudius II forbade it for young men, realizing that they made better soldiers if they didn’t have families. After Valentine’s actions were discovered, he was put to death outside of Rome. And so, in honor of his noble actions, Valentine’s Day became known as the day to celebrate love.

In another story, it is believed he was the first to send a “valentine” to the jailor’s daughter who came to visit him while in confinement. Valentine had been executed, however, for helping beaten and tortured Christians escape Roman prisons. This saint also presumably signed the letter to the daughter “From your Valentine,” a common phrase used today in cards and gifts. 

The holiday itself has pagan origins, as it celebrates the anniversary of St. Valentine’s death or burial, which happened nearly 1800 years ago. It was the Christian church’s attempt at “christianizing” the pagan celebration of Lupercalia, a fertility festival honoring Roman god of agriculture Faunus, and Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome. What made it a day of romance was the beginning of birds’ mating season and English poet Geoffrey Chaucer’s first record of St. Valentine’s Day as a romantic celebration. This is why, today, people are met with chocolates, valentines, and flowers, Feb. 14, marking the approaching spring and the newly rejuvenated love in the air.

Valentine’s Day singing grams are distributed throughout the school on the holiday by the school’s acapella group. “We will be performing ‘Just the Two of Us’ and ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough,’” said sophomore acapella singer Valerie Younes. School groups like Mu Alpha Theta and Patriots TV News are also spreading love with morning announcements and candy grams. (Photo/Emma Delgado)

Alina, a rising sophomore at American Heritage, is looking forward to her first year on the Patriot Post. Apart from reporting, she’s very involved in the arts and can often be found creating a new painting in her free time. Alina enjoys ballroom dancing, music, fashion, literature, and mathematics as she is a part of the math competition team, the National English Honor Society, and the National Art Honor Society. Nevertheless, her recent discovery of her passion for journalism has inspired her to capture the rhythm of life at American Heritage this coming year.