By ELLA FITZPATRICK and DANIELA MORA
February is known as the month of romance. For centuries, people have celebrated this holiday of love by gifting their significant others flowers, chocolates and hugs.
According to History.com, legend has it that the most evidenced theory of the creation of Valentine’s Day began with the actions of St. Valentine between the years 174 A.D. and 269 A.D. St. Valentine served under the Roman Emperor Claudius II, who decided that single men served as better soldiers than those who were married. So he outlawed marriage of eligible young bachelors.
In protest, St. Valentine married young couples in secret until his actions were discovered and he was sentenced to death on Feb. 14, 269 A.D.–hence the celebration date of Valentine’s Day.
During the same time period, the pagan festivity Lupercalia was celebrated annually on Feb. 15.
As a holiday that celebrated fertility through sacrifices and occasionally paired men and women for marriage in public raffles, the Catholic Church discouraged the holiday because it did not follow Christian ideals.
After 1,200 years of the annual celebration, Lupercalia was outlawed in the late fifth century—the same time that Valentine’s Day was declared a holiday.
While not all historians agree that the banishment of Lupercalia directed the traditions of Valentine’s Day, both holidays do share similar traditions that revolve around love and sexuality, according to ThoughtCo.
Now, according to Odysseys Unlimited, Valentine’s Day has grown in popularity around the world and is celebrated in over 25 countries. Each of these countries have their own traditions, some of which do not merely focus on romantic relationships.
In the countries of Mexico, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Estonia, platonic love is more commonly celebrated on Valentine’s Day. Gifts of chocolate, flowers, and cards are shared not only with significant others but with friends and family who the giver is fond of.
America is another country where platonic love is acknowledged on Valentine’s Day. While romantic relationships are still in focus, a common example of these expressions of kindness and appreciation are seen in elementary schools. Each student is encouraged to bring small gifts of candies or toys to give to each other so no child feels left out.
While this custom is not celebrated in grade levels above elementary school, some kids still give small gifts to friends.
MaIia Coggins, a sophomore at REV, says, “I usually buy candies and make stuff for people. I give out love to all of the homies.”
On Feb. 13, Joshua Masangcay, a senior at Redlands East Valley High School, shops for a Valentine’s Day card at the Target store located at Citrus Plaza in Redlands, California. The card he holds features Leslie Knope, played by Amy Poehler, from the television sitcom “Parks and Recreation,” who invented Galentine’s Day. (ELLA FITZPATRICK/Ethic News photo)
On Feb. 13, Alicia Gullon, a senior at Redlands East Valley High School, shops for a bouquet of flowers for Valentine’s Day in the Target store located at Citrus Plaza in Redlands, California. (ELLA FITZPATRICK/Ethic News photo)
The fear of being alone on Valentine’s Day is a common thought, according to PR Newswire. This is due to the pressures some people feel to fulfill the unrealistic societal expectations of having a date.
According to a study, The Pressures of Valentine’s Day and Dating reveals that 43% of single people admit to feeling the pressures of these traditional, and ancient, outlooks of how Valentine’s Day should be celebrated.
Brooke Casamassimo, a sophomore at REV, says, “I think people view Valentine’s Day as a day to be romantically validated by someone else. And even though that’s desirable, you shouldn’t have to wait for one day to want or deserve it.”
To overcome these societal expectations, on Feb. 13, some women celebrate “Galentine’s Day”— also known as “Palentine’s Day,” as to not be gender specific. Created by Leslie Knope, a fictional character played by Amy Poehler, in the United States sitcom television series “Parks and Recreation,” it has turned into a holiday recognized by social media and younger generations as it celebrates being independent and the empowerment of staying single.
Editor’s note: The date of St. Valentine’s death was mistakenly published as 296 A.D. in the original post. It has since been corrected on Feb. 15 at 2:17 p.m.