It’s either the best day of the year or the worst; the day where you and your significant other can participate in as much PDA as you wish, or a day when being single really slaps you in the face. I’m sure most of you have figured it out now that I’m talking about Valentine’s Day.
"The day probably took its name from a priest who was martyred about ad 270 by the emperor Claudius II Gothicus. According to legend, the priest signed a letter to his jailer’s daughter, whom he had befriended and with whom he had fallen in love, “from your Valentine.” The holiday also had origins in the Roman festival of Lupercalia, held in mid-February. The festival, which celebrated the coming of spring, included fertility rites and the pairing off of women with men by lottery. At the end of the 5th century, Pope Gelasius I replaced Lupercalia with St. Valentine’s Day. It came to be celebrated as a day of romance from about the 14th century.
By the 1500s, the first formal messages, or valentines, appeared, and then in the late 1700s, thanks to the printing press, commercially printed cards started circulating. The U.S. jumped aboard this love bandwagon and the first commercial valentines were printed here in the mid-1800s. Usually, a valentine depicts Cupid—the Roman god of love—in some form or another, and there are typically hearts—the traditional seat of emotion—thrown everywhere around him and the paper. And because we’re creepy, and mating season was thought to begin for them in mid-February, birds started being depicted as a symbol of this holiday. Traditional gifts for this holiday include plushies, candies, flowers, proposals, etc. Or if you grew up similar to how I did, you’ll remember the tacky kid’s cards and candy that we gave to our classmates during a Valentine’s Day party where we would get sugar drunk and chocolate addicted.
I know, personally, that when I think of Valentine’s Day I think about the single life that I lead, or about getting superhero or girly-themed cards in my box during grade school. But no matter if you celebrate it or not, Valentine’s Day is still an important part of our culture, not to mention a huge money-maker for stores and flower shops. And don’t forget the best part of this holiday; the after day sales are the best time to stock up on candy and plushies!
For more information, check out these awesome resources, courtesy of your college library!
McArthur, Neil, and Marina Adshade. "It’s Better To Be Single On Valentine’s
Day." Time.Com (2015): N.PAG. Corporate ResourceNet. Web. 25 Jan. 2016.
"St. Valentine's Day Massacre." Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia (2015):
1p. 1. Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia. Web. 25 Jan. 2016.
"5 Things To Know About Buying Flowers On Valentine’s Day." Time.Com (2015):
N.PAG. Corporate ResourceNet. Web. 25 Jan. 2016.
Kooser, Ted. Valentines. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2008. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 11 Feb. 2016.
Aveni, Anthony F. The Book Of The Year : A Brief History Of Our Seasonal Holidays. Oxford: Oxford University Press, USA, 2003.eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 11 Feb. 2016.