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Valentine's Day: Beyond Cupid's Arrows

By: Dani Generous

It's Valentine's Day! I'm sure that, like most, you associate February 14th with red roses, chocolates, and heartfelt serenades of affection. But have you stopped to question what Valentine's Day is and why we celebrate it? Some pessimists might tell you that corporations invented the holiday solely to keep companies like Hallmark in business–and although Valentine's Day is definitely a day that we all rush out to buy overpriced cards, the day's traditions long surpass cheesy greeting cards and imagery of babies with bows and arrows.

According to Britannica, there are many theories surrounding the origins of the holiday we celebrate on February 14th. One theory suggests that Valentine's Day origins can be rooted back to a Roman festival held in mid-February called Lupercalia that celebrated the coming of spring and female fertility by pairing men and women with one another. Another theory surrounds a Christian martyr who supposedly signed a letter "from your valentine" to the daughter of the man who had imprisoned him. The theory states that he befriended her and cured her of blindness. Lastly, there is a legend about St. Valentine, a bishop who defied the emperor's orders and secretly married couples to keep the husbands from going to war. Cupid, the Roman God of love and the name many of us think of when we hear Valentine's Day, was not associated with this holiday until the mid-18th century.

It's safe to say that the reasons and ways we celebrate the holiday in 2024 are vastly different from how the holiday came to be. But regardless, the same premises are true–It's a holiday celebrating companionship. So whether you're spending the night out or staying in, take a moment to send love to those you're thankful for in your life.

Works Cited

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. "Valentine’s Day". Encyclopedia Britannica, 10 Feb. 2024, Accessed 11 February 2024.

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