History is instrumental in understanding holiday

Brylee Huber, Editor

Seniors Cassidy Combs and Will Saueressig pose for their combined senior photo shoot. (Courtesy photo)

by Brylee Huber

   As Dollar General begins to fill its shelf with heart-shaped candy boxes and stuffed bears, and as students consider their options for the impending dance in April, the thought of Valentine’s Day arises.

   This holiday of love was inspired, if not directly derived from, the ancient Roman holiday called Lupercalia.

   This was celebrated on the 15th of February, and honored fertility and God of fertility Lupercus. Despite the rituals and gore of this festival, according to history.com, “the men randomly chose a woman’s name from a jar to be coupled with them for the duration of the festival. Often, the couple stayed together until the following year’s festival. Many fell in love and married.”

   In present day, the 14th of February is deemed “St. Valentine’s Day.” Who is this saint? No one is completely sure. There are three separate bishops, all donning the famous name, who are theorized to be the namesake of love.

   One tale says, also according to history.com, that King Claudius II banned his men from getting married and having families, as it was his belief that single men are better fighters.  One priest, Valentine, disagreed with this, and married soldiers to their partners in secret. This led to Valentine getting hung and therefore martyred.

   Three factors are usually the same when comparing the different origin stories: King Claudius II, Rome, and a saint named Valentine getting sentenced to death.

   The origins of this sweet holiday may be surprising to some, but that does not deny the feelings about it in Burlington. Senior Lily Rolf said, “It’s stupid and forces people to be romantic all the time. Also, it’s a way for greeting card companies, florists, and chocolate manufacturers to make a profit off girls needing material things.”

   Abby Crutchfield, sophomore, said, however, “I loved it more in elementary school when we made little boxes and gave each other Valentines that fit our personalities.

   “I also like the candy sales the day after. My mom gives us treats every year!”

   Even with the deep-rooted origins of fertility, love, and sacrifice, today’s Valentine’s Day seems to be about materialism and gifts.