Reported By: Anahi Avalos
Valentine’s Day is a beloved holiday, commemorated by gift-giving, acts of kindness, and other expressions of love. However, the origins of St. Valentine’s Day are often overlooked.
The earliest celebrations of St. Valentine’s Day can be traced to the third-century Roman Empire. Lupercalia, a festival in which young men and women would pair off and exchange small presents, parallels the modern tradition of exchanging gifts and cards with romantic partners and close friends. And later, during the Middle Ages, the practice of sending love letters and poems grew in popularity. By the 18th century, mass-produced cards, called “Valentines”, became popular in England and the United States- inspiring the modern tradition of Hallmark cards.
There is nothing quite like a heartfelt gift from a loved one, and Senior Aubriana Barrera doted on her close friend, Diego, saying “[It made me] feel very special to receive a gift from him.”
The Valentine’s Day tradition of sweet treats is equally appreciated by Madison students. Senior Monique Camacho, declared her love for the holiday saying, “I love Valentine’s Day, and I especially love all the fun treats!”
However, the holiday’s roots are not all heartening. “The Patron Saint of Lovers” and holiday namesake, St. Valentine is honored on February 14, for his “three-part execution” under the Roman Empire (CBN). A Christian martyr, Valentine displayed a selfless act of love, embodying the true meaning of Valentine’s Day.
St. Valentine’s Day has evolved through the ages, but its meaning rings true: the holiday remains an opportunity to appreciate the beauty and value of love in all forms.