A History of Hearts

Hannah Roberts, Staff Reporter

  Valentine’s Day. It’s a holiday celebrated and loved all over the world. A day to show your love to a partner or friends. In this age the day February 14th is filled with hearts, flowers, chocolate, and love. 

  While this is what the holiday is like now, it wasn’t always that way. The day can be traced back to Roman times and dedicated to one man, St. Valentine. 

  There are many legends surrounding St. Valentine and the origin of the holiday. One legend says that Roman Emperor Claudius II decided young men made better soldiers than lovers so he outlawed marriage for young men. When St. Valentine, who was a priest, heard of this, he defied and continued to marry young soldiers to their lovers in secret. 

  Another popular legend states that Valentine was imprisoned and while in jail fell in love with his jailor’s daughter. Allegedly before his death Valentine sent that girl a letter and signed it “From Your Valentine”. 

  Although the legends of St. Valentine are unclear, the impact of his life is very real. Throughout the years there have been hundreds of traditions for Valentine’s Day all of which reflect the times they come from. 

  Many people have given or received handmade cards for Valentine’s Day. This tradition started in the Middle Ages in Europe. People would hand make cards with love letters inside and exchange them on Valentine’s Day.

  This well-known tradition was well-loved in the Victorian era when cards were exchanged like in other times but were much more extravagant. The intensely decorated cards reflected the times as most traditions of history do. 

  The much-needed time for love letters from your partner was during wartime in the early and mid-1900s. The letters young soldiers received gave them motivation and a reason to keep going. The letters showed love and provided an insight into what was going on in the soldier’s hometowns.

  In the 70s Valentine’s Day was widely celebrated on the dance or roller floor for a disco before having a nice dinner. Lovers and friends in the 80s often celebrated by watching romantic comedies or going to a concert. The well-loved folks of the 90s celebrated by making mixtapes for their lovers and a box of chocolate to go along with them. 

  As the world entered the 2000s Valentine’s Day continued to dominate the month of February. The 2000s reflected the 80s and Valentine’s Day was often celebrated by watching a rom-com. Many people received stuffed animals or necklaces. The 2000s and 2010s also introduced the idea of celebrating the day with friends rather than a lover. Galentine’s Day became more and more prominent. 

  People today still celebrate Valentine’s Day but most young students will celebrate the upcoming day with their schoolwork and desk. Sadly over the years fun parties and candy at school have become homework at a desk with a few sweet treats. 

  Sophomore Eden Dombrowski has a nice tradition for the day, “Every valentines day I make strawberry, heart-shaped, cupcakes or cookies to share with my closest friends and family.”

  Other people opt to give back to the community on Valentine’s Day. Senior Eva Pechtl is one of those people. This Valentine’s Day Pechtl performed at “Love, Unchained” which is an event created to raise awareness to gender-based violence against women and girls. 

  Pechtl says,”I’m really looking forward to contributing musically to the event as a young woman interested in possibly leading a social justice-related organization someday.”

  History teacher Neil McCarthy has a different view on Valentine’s Day. 

  “I am anti Saint Valentine’s Day, I feel forced to be romantic. I like to be spontaneous and celebrate love randomly.”

  Traditions from the past still exist today. If couples or friends can’t see each other they might resort to the loved tradition of writing a letter decked out in red and pink. Some people will give back to their community. Others prefer to celebrate the idea of love at random times. Although it might be difficult to spend Valentine’s Day celebrating love with the pressure of school, tell someone you love them whether it’s a friend, lover, or family member.