Everyone knows of the day dedicated to love, but less might understand the origin of the holiday and the meaning behind its celebration.
Though nobody knows for sure which legend is true about Saint Valentine, the month of February was celebrated in Ancient Rome and in Christianity as a month of romance and love. The Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus.
One legend suggests that Valentine was a priest in third century Rome who advocated for love and justice for young couples during a time where it was outlawed, and his performance of secret marriage ceremonies eventually leading to his martyring. Emperor Claudius II decided that young men made better soldiers if they were single and had no family or love relations, causing most young men to be sent to war without ever having experienced romance.
The celebration of Valentine’s Day in America was adopted during the introduction of Christianity, however it is not recognized as a public holiday. All services, stores, government offices and other places still operate throughout the day, though by personal belief some people may recognize it as a holiday.
“I don’t believe so, because it’s rooted in a Saint–like Saint Valentine–but I don’t believe that’s relevant to our society today as a whole,” said student Abby Stein, when asked if she believed Valentine’s Day should be recognized as a public holiday.
Valentine’s Day can be celebrated to show love and support to those you care about, however some individuals might disagree. Understanding an individual’s right to religious freedom or personal belief system, the holiday should not be recognized as a national or public day, but rather a personal day of their choice.
“I think it’s important to shower your significant other with love. I think it’s important to do it on other days as well, but I think it’s fun to have a set day during the year,” said Daniel Andrew Helgersen, a college student and member of the Office of Student Life.
For some, February 14 may be a dreaded reminder that they haven’t found love, and for others it may be based around whether they choose to celebrate with family, giving small gifts or cards like in elementary school to show affection or gratitude. Couples seem to be the most supportive of the holiday, while some folks say they just can’t find the time to celebrate it at all; others might celebrate depending on their relationship status.
“I’ve spent Valentine’s Days where I wasn’t with somebody, but I would just say happy Valentine’s Day to other people,” said Helgersen.
Helgersen mentioned that he celebrates with his mother, grandparents and sometimes close friends, recognizing the bond they have, among celebrating with his significant other. He also claimed that it shouldn’t be considered a national holiday because the nation has more important days to consider like Earth Day or other holidays that are not recognized publicly.
“I don’t have time at the moment because I’m balancing college, I’m trying to get a job, I’m doing a whole bunch of weird stuff with hobbies, and so I don’t really have much time to celebrate things,” said Gabriel York, another student at Pierce College.
He also mentioned that because he doesn’t have a significant other, he doesn’t feel the initiative to recognize Valentine’s Day as a holiday. Relationship status and many other factors certainly play a role in the different opinions on this personal holiday.
Stein said that the original celebration of the patron day is not relevant to how the day is looked upon now. In today’s society, the celebration for some, is less about the religious aspect and more the display of love, care and romance.
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