A Run-Down of Valentine’s Day


Photo from https://www.awarenessdays.com/awareness-days-calendar/valentines-day-2021/

What screams Valentine’s Day more than candy hearts and old Nike shoeboxes decorated in glitter? The sudden stream of various paper hearts decorating school corridors (courtesy of StuGo) signals the arrival of February, blessing Arizona with its somewhat cool, somewhat warm climate, and bringing in possibly the most lovable yet loathsome holiday: Valentine’s Day.

The Bloody History Behind Old Saint Valentine’s

The famous Saint Valentine, whom the holiday is named after. Photo found here.

One of the famous myths of Saint Valentine revolves around the story of two lovers set during the rule of the Roman emperors. The original Saint Valentine (whom the holiday is said to be named after) was imprisoned by Emperor Claudius II Gothicus for (what is presumed to be) performing marriages for young soldiers who weren’t allowed to marry for the sake of their duty. While in prison, he fell in love with the young daughter of the warden and wrote her a letter, signing it “Your Valentine”, and thus brought the first Valentine into existence.

Lupercalia, a pagan celebration honoring a Roman god and Romulus and Remus, celebrated fertility and involved a group of priests, a goat, a dog, and a spooky old cave. Acknowledged on the Ides of February, the priests would sacrifice the two animals and bring back the goat’s hide, dripping in blood, and throw it at women and crops for fertility and purification. Pope Gelasius banned the pagan holiday for its non-Christian activities and instead declared Valentine’s Day on February 14th.

To read more about the history behind Valentine’s Day, click here!

Traditions Around the World

Welsh love spoons are exchanged on St. Dwynewen’s Day in Wales. Photo found here.

The idea of Valentines originated in the United Kingdom (no doubt inspired by Saint Valentine’s declaration of love centuries earlier), where the Victorian society favored not signing their names on cards, reckoning it would bring misfortune to their love lives. In Wales, St. Dwynewen’s Day is celebrated on January 25th, the day of the Welsh patron saint of lovers. Couples exchange wooden spoons engraved with symbols to express their love for each other.

In Peru, flowers are traded between couples; however, instead of roses, they give each other orchids. In Slovenia, people take to the fields for a day of hard work because St. Valentine was a saint of spring. A continent over in South Africa, couples pin heart-shaped slips of paper with the names of their lovers onto their clothes (literally, wearing their hearts on their sleeves), a tradition inspired by Lupercalia.

Photo found here.

Old Elementary School Shenanigans

While in the United States Valentine’s Day usually consists of going on dates or professing your love to your crush, the real fun took place in our old elementary school classrooms during Valentine’s Day parties.

Teachers and students would bring in food and beverages, from pizza and sickly sweet sugar cookies (you know the ones I’m talking about) to apple juice to chocolate. The day would be spent hanging out with your friends and playing fun Valentine-themed games. At one point, the teacher would put on the Charlie Brown Valentine’s Day special or some other PG Valentine’s Day cartoons. The most exciting and interesting part of Valentine’s Day in elementary school (in my humble opinion) was the Valentine’s Day shoebox contests. Everyone would make their own Valentines boxes, where they would deliver their little Valentine’s treats and cards later on, and then the teacher would pick the best out of the bunch. Despite being a somewhat competitive contest when it came to creativity, nothing beats the feeling of opening your old Nike shoebox covered in pink glitter to find it bursting with Target and Walmart Valentine’s Day cards from your peers.

On the behalf of the newspaper team at The Knight Times, I wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day, Knights!

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