February: the Month Dedicated to a Hallmark Holiday


Sadie Bruner and Danie Way , Reporter

It’s that time again for the possibly most romantic or dreaded holiday of the year, Valentine’s Day. You know you love the Brach’s candy hearts and assorted chocolate, but has this holiday always been about the sweet treats, or has it turned into a marketing platform for candy companies?

Valentine’s Day, though now known as the holiday of love, has some interesting origins. It was first an ancient Roman and Christian tradition. Stories range from the idea that Valentine, a priest, performed marriages for young lovers in secret after Claudius ll, emperor of Rome in the third century outlawed it thinking that single men made better soldiers, to the Roman festival of Lupercalia, a festival honoring the Roman god of agriculture, Faunus, as well as Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome. In this festival, Luperci (priests) would sacrifice goats and dogs after which the Luperci would have the bloody knife touched to their foreheads. The Lupreci would then render a woman fertile by striking them with thongs from the animals sacrificed. Men would pick a woman’s name that was randomly put in a jar and they would then get married. Lupercalia was originally a Christian festival. Other stories render Valentine as a hero for helping Romans escape from harsh imprisonments and writing a love letter to his jailer’s daughter after he was caught.

Cupid, though now portrayed as a chubby cherub who launches arrows of love at others, is actually the Greek God of love, Eros. According to Greek poets, Eros was an immortal who would play with the emotions of men and Gods, using arrows to incite love. It wasn’t until the Hellenistic period that Eros was portrayed as a cherub.

As you can see, Valentine’s Day isn’t just hugs, kisses, hearts, and chocolates, it goes into a much deeper, darker past.

Now in the year 2020, Valentine’s Day is consumed by card and candy companies, and it seems as though the teens of today are picking up on that.

“Valentine’s Day is a holiday that forces people to spend money on overpriced items to “prove” one’s love for someone else. It is an over-commercialized holiday that is owned by Hallmark. I don’t like it.” Marcus Winton, a freshman at GSHS shares his thoughtful yet comedic take on Valentine’s Day, “Also most importantly, those Valentine’s chocolates are a total shot in the dark. They are like playing Russian roulette, sometimes they are good and some are really not.”

“It’s a pointless holiday made up for people to have an excuse to get chocolate,” states freshman at Coal Ridge, Hailey Worton.

Not only has the younger generation picked up on the marketing aspect of Valentine’s Day, but they have also decided on a very mature concept.

“Shouldn’t every day be a day of love?” Questions sophomore at Coal Ridge, Gracie DiMarco, “Why just one day out of the year?”

“You don’t need a specific day to spoil someone to show them how much you love them,” says sophomore at GSHS, “You are able to do that any time of the day and not just on Valentine’s Day.”

According to students within the valley, Valentine’s Day is pointless due to the fact that you should show appreciation for the ones you love every day.

There are also people who avoid Valentine’s Day because of the feeling of mockery and judgment. Many students find it “cheesy and stupid”, but also depressing because they don’t have someone to share the day with.

“I think it’s great if you have someone, but it’s also a day to single out people who aren’t in a relationship,” Skye McConaughy, a freshman at GSHS states.

But of course, there are the people who appreciate the Rom-Coms and chocolate that come with Valentine’s Day.

“Valentine’s Day is a cool opportunity to show someone you love, you love them,” explains Cynthia Jimenez, “You can do that every day but it makes this day extra special.”

Based on how the eye perceives it Valentine’s Day could be a holiday about love and appreciation or about its dark origin and candy companies.