Piece of Mind: Valentine's Day history - The Lookout - LCC's Independent Student Newspaper Since 1959
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Piece of Mind: Valentine's Day history

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The Lookout Staff Writer Alexandra McCluskey

Alexandra McCluskey

By Alexandra McCluskey (She/Her)
Staff Writer

Feb. 14 is a day everyone either hates or loves. Valentine’s Day has been widely celebrated for years as a day to give gifts to loved ones and celebrate relationships.

The history of Valentine’s Day has long been contested and shrouded with controversial opinions. Apparently one thing can be agreed upon: Emperor Claudius outlawed marriage for young men, believing it made better soldiers.

St. Valentine, the one whose name the holiday is celebrated for, stood up behind the Emperor’s back and performed marriages in secret, appalled at the injustice of restricting marriage and repressing love.

When Emperor Claudius eventually found out, he ordered St. Valentine to be beheaded. This made a martyr of Valentine, immortalizing him in the celebration of an entire month of love.

As always, no one can seem to agree about incidents in history. Others believe the Christians pushed the celebration to the middle of the month in order to coincide with the Pagan holiday, Lupercalia, celebrating health and fertility in Ancient Rome.

The war between St. Valentine’s Day and Lupercalia went on for a good while, ending with Lupercalia being outlawed for being “un-Christian.”

The exchange of Valentine Day cards has been around since the Middle Ages. The first known Valentine card was a poem written in 1415 by the Duke of Orleans, Charles, to his wife while imprisoned after his capture in the Battle of Agincourt.

Valentine’s Day has a dark yet romantic history, of showing love despite the odds. Nowadays, we celebrate it by dedicating a day of love and affections with our partners, friends and families.

Partner or no partner, don’t let societal norms ruin your Valentine’s Day. Celebrate who and what you love. Indulge in a self-care day. Go out with a friend, or stay in and watch a movie. Do something to enjoy and celebrate our wonderful holiday of Valentine’s.



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