The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

Chocolate candy is stuck between your teeth and pink is splattered everywhere you look.

You’re tired of hearing “Happy Valentine’s Day!” but relieved to have the excuse to gorge out on candy.

For many people, Valentine’s Day is a cheesy, expensive holiday filled with candy and flowers, but what most people don’t realize is Valentine’s Day has an important historical meaning behind it.

Did you know Saint Valentine’s Day is a unique holiday that brings in over $14 billion annually and holds remnants of Christian and ancient Roman traditions? Isn’t it funny how Saint Valentine was beheaded because of secretly marrying lovers, but today it is the most romantic holiday of the year?

Many people may feel pressured into doing something for their loved ones on this day, while others look forward to the celebration of love.

Tom Miner, City College English instructor, says he looks forward to Valentine’s Day,
“Since my wife is from Belgium, she’s an expert on gourmet chocolate,” Miner says.

Students have family traditions when it comes to Valentine’s Day too.

“When I was little, my mom would send us sweetheart candies in our lunch,” says City College business major Sophia Lopez.

One legend states Saint Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome in 269 A.D. Emperor Claudius II had biased beliefs about young men who had to fight in war. Claudius decided it would be more beneficial to not have men fight who did have wives and families, so he outlawed marriage for soldiers. Valentine defied Claudius and performed marriages between young lovers in secret.

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The jailor’s daughter would visit Valentine frequently and their love affair lasted until Feb. 14, the day of his death. Before he died, he wrote and signed a letter to his love: “From your Valentine.”

The Fertility Legend tells another story. Saint Valentine on Feb. 14 in Rome honored Juno, the goddess of marriage. Because of Juno, the Romans held the Feast of Lupercalia after Feb.15. February in Rome signified the beginning of spring and purification. Lupercalia was celebrated by sprinkling salt and wheat, also known as spelt, to purify their homes.

The festival begins with all of the members of the Luperci Roman priests coming together at a sacred cave where two infants named Romulus and Remus were taken care of by a she-wolf named Lupa. The priests would sacrifice animals: a goat for fertility and a dog for purification. After the sacrifice, Romulus and Remus would cut the goat hide into strips and go running the streets “slapping” available women on their buttocks.

The Roman women touched by the goats’ hides believed it would make them more fertile. After, the young women who were slapped would take their names and place them in an urn. Single men in the city would pick out names and the pairs would be matched for life.
Citizens believe the Christian church wanted to celebrate Valentine’s Day in the middle of February to “Christianize” the celebrations of the Pagan Lupercalia festival.

After these rituals took place and were successful, Pope Gelasius made Feb. 14 Saint Valentine’s Day in 498 A.D.

Years later, Valentine’s Day cards were introduced to America in the 1840s.

Regardless of being single, taken or simply sick of the holidays, everyone celebrates this day in his or her own way.

“Valentine’s Day may be cheesy, but I like the playfulness of it. Children pass around candy hearts, people send cards to secret admirers and it’s essentially about being nice and showing love,” says history professor Holly Piscopo.

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