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The History of Valentine’s Day

The History of Valentines Day

The history of Valentine’s Day is shrouded in mystery. However, it is believed to have stemmed from ancient Christian and Roman traditions. The Catholic Church recognizes three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, who were all martyred. Some people believe the Christian Church might have chosen to have a St. Valentine’s Festival as an effort to turn the Pagan celebration Lupercalia into a Christian event. 

Valentine’s Day is commonly celebrated in the United States, Mexico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, France, Argentina, and South Korea. However, it is believed to have originated in Rome. 

Lupercalia was a fertility festival that was dedicated to Faunus, who is the Roman god of agriculture, and Romulus and Remus, who are considered the founders of Rome. This event took place on February 15th. In the festival, Roman priests would gather in the cave where Romulus and Remus were cared for by Lupa, and they would sacrifice a goat for fertility and a dog for purification. The priests would take pieces of skin from these animals, touch it to their foreheads, and hit all of the nearby women with it. They did this as they believed it would make the women more fertile. 

Lupercalia survived Christianity but became outlawed at the end of the 5th century, when Pope Gelasius announced February 14th as St. Valentine’s Day. 

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Valentine’s Day was not about romance until around the 14th century. It was believed during the Middle Ages in France and England that February 14th began the start of mating season for birds. 

English poet Geoffrey Chaucer was the first to record St. Valentine’s Day as a romantic celebration. He wrote a poem called “Parliament of Foules”, in which he states that St. Valentine’s Day is the day when everyone chooses their mate. 

As the holiday began to develop as a romantic celebration, various symbols of love also became associated with the event. For example, written valentines began appearing in the 1400’s. The oldest recorded one is a poem from 1415 written by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife. 

Cupid is also associated with Valentine’s Day. Cupid is a Roman god that originated from the Greek god of love, Eros. Cupid is typically depicted as a cherub who shoots people with arrows of love, causing the people to fall in love. He is now an iconic symbol that is commonly shown on Valentine’s cards.

Modernly, this holiday has grown to become the second largest card-selling holiday. Valentine’s Day is estimated to make around $25.9 billion in profit. Which makes it the third priciest holiday in the United States, behind Thanksgiving and Christmas. This leads some people to question if the true meaning of the holiday is still truly acknowledged, or if people are more focused on the gifts they receive from their partners. 

I asked a few students about their plans for Valentine’s Day. Many students, including, Sophomores Giuliana Alfano, Reese Agee, and Sophia Rach said they are unsure of their plans yet. Students Tyler Tuscano and Tyler Demain said they would be going out with their girlfriends for dinner. Sophomore Alley Rouns will be getting food and hanging out with her girlfriend. A few other students had more specific plans, such as Kaylee Brenner who will be working, and Reeve Donatelli who is vacationing in Florida with his family. Freshman Levi Moore said that he does not believe in Valentine’s Day and thinks that it is an unimportant holiday that should not be celebrated. Junior Spencer Simione will be spending Valentine’s Day with his friends. 

Gabriella Tunison is celebrating Galentine’s Day with her friends at Mizu.  Samme Shumaker, Abriana Wittenham, Rebecca Morris, Lily Sargent, and Nina Kumar will be celebrating Galentine’s with their friends. Galentine’s is a variation of Valentine’s day that stemmed from Tiktok. It typically celebrates women’s friendship. I’ve commonly seen people do this by hosting dinner parties or charcuterie board parties. It is a way to celebrate all of your friends on Valentine’s Day, even if they are single. 

At Lowellville Elementary School, students will continue with the tradition of passing out valentines and making their valentine boxes to place their goodies in.  This tradition has been around since before I was in elementary school, so hopefully, it will last for more years. Students have become really creative with their boxes and these are displayed with a variety of popular themes. 

     High school students had the annual Sweethearts Dance on February 10th at the school. The Sweetheart Court consisted of Seniors Sophia Alfano and Micheal Ballone, Kayla Lawson and Vinny Perry, Olivia Lauvernick and Ryan Neider, Isabella Willrich and Tino Rivera-Ocasio, and Serinna Tych and Braylen Dabney. The Sweethearts King was Vinny Perry and the Queen was Sophia Alfano.

The Lowellville PTO is hosting its 5th annual Little Sweethearts Dance on February 24, 2024. This is open to elementary students and parents. In the previous years, there have been over 200 people in attendance. The dance is described as an evening of fun, festivities, food, and dancing. It costs $30 per person, which includes dinner, refreshments, cake, a s’mores bar, unlimited access to all photos taken during the event, and a trip to the photo booth. The Lowellville PTO is also looking for high school students to volunteer at the event. You can sign up outside Mrs. Reamer’s classroom if you are interested. 

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