Valentine’s Day: Richer than a box of chocolates

By Riviera McCollum

Febraury 13, 2013

Most single girls cringe at the idea of spending Valentine’s Day alone with junk food and chick-flicks, while taken guys stress about how to plan a perfect date for their special lady. The girls in relationships set their expectations high, only to be let down by their incompetent boyfriends who don’t know the first thing about romance.

All these people make Valentine’s Day less romantic and affectionate than it really is. Spending this special day with loved ones is something that every person, single or taken, should look forward to. Rather than being caught up in the flowers, candy and gifts associated with Valentine’s Day, we need to start thinking about how this holiday came about and why it’s so significant.

Valentine’s Day is actually a church sanctioned holiday, not what most view as a Hallmark holiday. Pope Gelasius deemed February 14th, St. Valentine’s Day around 498 A.D., but the exact origin behind the reasoning of the celebration is somewhat a mystery. According to History.com, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One of the legends claims that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men. Valentine rebelled against Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret because he found the ruling as an injustice. When Valentine was caught, Claudius ordered that he be put to death.

Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for helping Christians escape cruel Roman prisons because they were often beaten and tortured. According to one tale, while Valentine was in jail he sent the first “valentine” greeting after he fell in love with a young girl that visited him during his imprisonment. Before his death, he allegedly wrote her a letter signed “From your Valentine,” which is a popular expression used on valentines everywhere.

Although Valentine was applauded for his romantic gesture, he symbolized much more than that. He was an example of love for men and women everywhere. “Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories all emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic and–most importantly–romantic figure,” History.com published.

The purpose of Valentine’s Day isn’t about showering your boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, or wife with gifts and planning extravagant dates, but that’s what society expects. Showing friends, family and lovers that you appreciate them by giving them a special token of affection or even expressing your love for them is enough to be someone’s valentine. There’s nothing wrong with having a day to be appreciative of all the people that love you in your life. Sometimes the world is a lonely place and Valentine’s Day is nothing more than a special reminder that you are loved.